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Apollo Elementary School Wins $20,000 Symetra Heroes in the Classroom ‘MVP Award’

Apollo Elementary School Wins $20,000 Symetra Heroes in the Classroom ‘MVP Award’

Posted by Elizabeth Egan on 5 May, 2017

News Release from Symetra Heroes in the Classroom:

Symetra and the Seattle Seahawks awarded Apollo Elementary School in Renton, Washington, with the 2016 Symetra Heroes in the Classroom® “MVP Award.” The $20,000 education grant will fund the “Apollo Reading Rocket,” an innovative student achievement program focused on helping at-risk students maintain critically important reading skills over the summer.

“Apollo Reading Rocket” was announced as the grant recipient at an April 28 luncheon in the Coach’s Loft at CenturyLink Field celebrating the 16 King County teachers recognized as Symetra Heroes in the Classroom during the 2016 NFL season. The program honors K-12 teachers for educational excellence and offers each of the 16 schools with a teacher-Hero the opportunity to submit an MVP Award proposal. Nominated programs are evaluated on a range of criteria, including innovation, feasibility and demonstrated need.

“Symetra is proud to act as a catalyst for innovative programs that benefit our community. ‘Reading Rocket’ tackles summer reading loss in a creative way, bringing much-needed resources to young students who might not otherwise have access to them,” said Tracy Wort, assistant director, Community Relations at Symetra. “Together with the Seattle Seahawks, we applaud educators like the Apollo team who reach out to our underserved student populations—they are the true MVPs in our region.”

Wort and John Pleas, Corporate Partnerships, Seattle Seahawks, presented the MVP Award to Apollo Elementary School Principal Jane Harris and Title 1/LAP reading teacher Susan Harper. A 2016 Symetra Heroes in the Classroom honoree, Harper will be the Reading Rocket’s lead instructor.

About Apollo Reading Rocket
Designed to help prevent summer reading loss among at-risk students, the Apollo Elementary School Reading Rocket program combines a mobile library with teaching instruction. A traveling library trailer will visit the neighborhoods of Apollo’s Learning Assistance Program (LAP) students, delivering summertime reading instruction and books. At each scheduled stop, students will meet with the program teacher, individually or in a small group, on board the Reading Rocket. During the school year, the library trailer will be used as a reading sanctuary for students during recess. Reading Rocket was developed in response to data indicating that many LAP students, who may be from economically disadvantaged households or homes where English is not the primary language, do not read or read very little over the summer. The result is that reading levels—and test scores—drop precipitously come September. Studies show that early intervention is key as the most dramatic changes in reading improvement occur in the early years.

About Symetra Heroes in the Classroom®
Since 2006, some 232 K–12 teachers across the Puget Sound have been celebrated as Symetra Heroes in the Classroom. Teachers may be nominated by their principal, district staff, student or student’s parent. The honorees are selected based on their ability to make a real difference in students' lives; to go above and beyond in their day-to-day responsibilities; and to help students build life skills. 

Symetra Heroes in the Classroom are recognized in front of their students and peers at surprise in-school presentations. They receive tickets to a Seahawks home game, where they are acknowledged during on-field presentations at CenturyLink Field. In addition, Symetra makes a $1,000 donation to each teacher-Hero’s school for classroom books and supplies. 

The program’s “MVP Award” grant has contributed $200,000 to local schools, helping to launch 16 innovative educational programs and reaching hundreds of Puget Sound students over the years.

For more information about the Symetra Heroes in the Classroom program or to nominate a teacher, visit

About Symetra 
Symetra Financial Corporation is a diversified financial services company based in Bellevue, Washington. In business since 1957, Symetra provides employee benefits, annuities and life insurance through a national network of benefit consultants, financial institutions, and independent agents and advisors. For more information, visit