Discovery Award

With prizes up to $10,000, the Discovery Award recognizes outstanding Unsung Heroes projects by students grades 4-12.

Check out the 2014 Discovery Award Finalists!

Catholic social worker Irena Sendler saved 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. Little Rock Central High School senior Kendall Reinhardt faced bullies and beatings for being kind to the nine African Americans who integrated his school at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Young photojournalism student Therese Frare took the iconic photograph that changed the face of AIDS in the U.S. in the early 1990s.

These people demonstrated extraordinary courage and compassion without seeking credit for it. They changed the world and influenced our lives, but their names are often not found in history books. We call them Unsung Heroes—but they are only unsung until discovered and celebrated.

The Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes Discovery Award provides students a unique opportunity to do just that: use their creative talents to research primary sources and develop outstanding projects that feature Unsung Heroes who can serve as role models and inspire others to create change.

The remarkable stories of Unsung Heroes go untold until YOU tell them. Now is your chance.

  • Prizes
  • Project Guidelines
  • How to Enter
  • Important Deadlines



The recipients of the prize determine the use of the funds, which are unrestricted. All winning projects will be featured on the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes website.

  • 1ST PLACE: $10,000
  • 2ND PLACE: $2,000
  • 3RD PLACE: $1,000

A certificate of recognition will be sent to projects with promise that did not place.

Past Winners

2013 Discovery Award Winners

1st Place – We are Newspapermen
2nd Place – Gone Too Soon
3rd Place – Ida Tarbell: Using Journalism to Repair the World
International Award Recipient – Under the Seagull’s Wings
Elementary/Middle School Award Recipient – Jacob Valentine II, Father of Refuge

2012 Discovery Award Winners

1st Place – Walk with Me
2nd Place – Richard Thomas: Catalyst for International Diplomacy
3rd Place – Ralph Carr: The Advocate of the Japanese

Project Guidelines


  1. Student or students enrolled in a U.S. or international school as of September 24, 2013.
  2. Students in the United States or an international school in grades 4-12.
  3. Any individual student or group of students numbering five or less.
  4. Project developed during the current school year.
  5. Project developed specifically for or tailored for the Discovery Award.
  6. Topic and mode approved by February 1, 2014.

Project Topics

To be considered for a Discovery Award, project topics must:

  1. Be about an Unsung Hero.
  2. Demonstrate impact over time.
  3. Promote respect and understanding.

Project Modes and Requirements

The project must be one of the following forms (click  each type to view requirements)


Judges are outstanding educators in the area of project-based learning who will use a rubric to evaluate each project on the following:

  1. Originality of topic and research.
  2. Excellence of quality.
  3. Analysis of subject.
  4. Annotated bibliography demonstrating depth and scope of research.
  5. Process Paper describing the development of the project.
  6. Demonstration of how the Unsung Hero serves as a role model.
  7. Sustaining value and potential for life beyond the development of the project.
  8. Ability to inspire students to take actions to carry out the legacies of their subjects.

How to Enter

The 2014 Discovery Award is now closed to new submissions. The 2015 Discovery Award application process is divided into two steps to allow projects the time to develop by the end of the 2015 school year.

Step 1: Intent to Enter

Step 2: Project Submission

  • Entries must be received by June 1, 2015.
  • All submissions must include 4 copies of the annotated bibliography and process paper.

Documentary film or multimedia:

  • 4 copies of the script
  • 4 copies of the documentary film or multimedia (DVDs or USB drives)


  • 4 copies of the script
  • 4 videos of the performance (DVDs or USB drives)


  • Web address of the website
  • 4 CDs or USB drives with the website

Please mail your completed submission materials to:

Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes
ATTN: Discovery Awards
4 South Main
Fort Scott, KS 66701

Important Deadlines