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University of Illinois to recognize high school students for innovations

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is looking for high school students who are putting innovative ideas into action.

It’s inviting Illinois students in grades nine to 12 to apply for the university’s “Celebrating High School Innovators” award.

The awards recognize work in areas ranging from the arts to health and nutrition, science and business. Finalists get a $500 prize.

Among last year’s winners was a YouTube entrepreneur whose videos educate viewers on new technology. Another winner spent his summer doing cerebral palsy research at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

Paul Ritter, a teacher at Pontiac Township High School, says the winners won’t necessarily be those with the highest grade-point averages. Ritter says: “Education is important, but so is motivation, creativity and tenacity.”