Student Competitions

The Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes offers two project-based learning competitions open to students who wish to celebrate Unsung Heroes. The Discovery Award, open to students grades 4-12, requires in-depth research to uncover a new Unsung Hero. The ArtEffect project, open to international middle and high school students, celebrates LMC’s existing Unsung Heroes in unique ways and encourages students to showcase their projects beyond the classroom to create positive community impact and inspire social action. Both competitions offer cash prizes and exciting opportunities for students!

Discovery Award

 With prizes up to $7,500, the Discovery Award recognizes outstanding Unsung Heroes projects by students grades 4-12.

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.

Lowell Milken Center Fellow Nate McAlister stands with his students who won the 2016 Discovery Award.

LMC Fellow Nate McAlister stands with his students, winners of the 2016 Discovery Award.

Learn More about the Discovery Award

2016 Grand Prize Winner: Emma Cushman: A Light in the Darkness

2015 Grand Prize Winner: Tran Ngoc “Harry” Hue: Steadfast Leader for Liberty

The ArtEffect Project

The ArtEffect Project, with cash prizes totaling $17,000, teaches students their power to effect positive change through creative storytelling that celebrates Unsung Heroes from history. LMC invites U.S. and international middle and high school students to submit high-quality creative art projects in the following mediums: visual arts, narrative film, and creative nonfiction. While LMC’s Discovery Award competition rewards in-depth research to uncover a new Unsung Hero, The ArtEffect Project emphasizes the creative interpretation of an LMC Unsung Hero’s story in a unique and compelling way. Students are encouraged to showcase their completed projects beyond the classroom walls in order to create positive community impact and inspire social action.

Winning projects may be chosen for display in LMC’s Hall of Unsung Heroes in Fort Scott, Kansas.

Andrea Howard (second from left) with 2017 ArtEffect Project grand prize winner Molly Cahill (center).

2017 ArtEffect Project grand prize winner, Molly Cahill (center).

Learn More about the ArtEffect Project

See some of our ArtEffect finalists from the past few years.

See all 2017 Finalists          See all 2016 Finalists

Ready to enter? Check out this Guide for Photographing Art with a Cell Phone!