Updated: 09/18/2013 11:26 PM
Created: 09/18/2013 4:28 PM KSTP.com
By: Maricella Miranda
Chaska teacher Eric Songer knew he was receiving an award Wednesday.
He expected the award to come with a $2,000 check.
What he didn't know was the check was for $12,000. Songer, who teaches at Chaska Middle School West, received the award for winning second place in the ING Unsung Heroes program.
Songer was part of 100 educators nationwide to be awarded through the program. Songer created "The Next Generation of Music," in which students perform popular music genres like hip-hop and electronica, compose music, produce and record music, according to ING, a company that provides investment management, retirement and insurance products.
Songer's students also learn about music theory, performance, listening and evaluation skills. Students use nontraditional instruments, such as turntables and electric guitars. They also can create music videos, blog and design websites in the program.
Songer can use the additional grant money to purchase equipment, including high-quality instruments, a DJ turntable and controller with Serato ITCH software, as well as multiple tablets and speakers.
ING Unsung Heroes has been rewarding K-12 teachers for 17 years for their innovative teaching methods, creative educational projects and ability to positively influence children to teach. The program has awarded more than $4 million to 1,800 educations nationwide.
Nearly 1,300 teachers applied for the award this year.
More information is available at www.unsungheroes.com.