Award gets recognition from Prospect community

By Jack Ryan
News Editor
An e-mail rolled into Associate Principal Scott McDermott’s office on Tuesday, Jan. 6 saying two Prospect students, seniors Jack McDermott and Keaton Keller won the Celebrating High School Innovators Award in Illinois. Right when he found, out he was overjoyed with excitement to see two Prospect students win an award with multiple applicants.
The first time McDermott has heard of this award was in the fall when it came across his desk, and from there he sent the news of this application onto teachers and sponsors since they have more one on one action with the students.
The Celebrating High School Innovators Award has been around for two years, and is based from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Their whole belief is to award high school students who have met current and emerging social needs in five different areas (see below).
The most amounts of people that can win the award are 100 students, and winnning the award is based on your innovation, not your ACT score or GPA.
Winning the award requires both Jack McDermott and Keller to attend the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign on May 8 and 9 to receive their award, as well as meet the other winners.
When Jack McDermott found out about this award he filled out an application which required a 1,000 word essay and sent a file of images of his innovation as well.
His innovation that he applied for was his work on the ProspectorNow website throughout the past four years.
One month after sending in his application he found out he won the award by getting an e-mail and was surprised at first.
“I was at first surprised that I won, but after further investigation of the e-mail I realized that not that many people applied for the award,” Jack McDermott said. “[Because of that] it was probably pretty easy to win.”
By winning the award he found out that he was to receive $500 to use to give back to the community and a street sign with his name on it in the community as well.
Right now he plans on using the $500 to give to the Prospector, and he thinks that the street sign is the best part of the award.
“I hope that it stays there for a while because I want to be able to say I have a street sign with my name on it,” Jack McDermott said.
When Keaton Keller found out about this award he did the same thing as Jack McDermott and wrote a 1,000 word essay and sent pictures of his innovation as well.
His innovation that he applied for was his four-year-old YouTube channel TechSmartt which talks about the latest electronics.
Three weeks after sending in the application he found that he won the award and was very humble about it.
“I was just very humble, and I felt that all the work I built on YouTube paid off, and it was very humbling at the end of the day,” Keller said.
Like Jack McDermott, he received $500 and plans on giving it back to the community or give it in the form of a scholarship, and he also thinks having a street sign named after him in the community is the best part of the award.
“I think that’s probably the coolest thing about the award besides just being recognized,” Keller said. “It lets other people know what I’ve built and how passionate I am about the company I created.”
As this award is new to Prospect, Scott McDermott plans on advertising this award more in the future since two Prospect students have won this year. He also encourages a lot of students to apply for this award when it comes around again.
“I think what’s really unique about it, and what makes it more special is what the kids put into it,” Scott McDermott said. “It’s not me making a phone call, or the district making a phone call, and there are no character references. They took and selected kids based on what the kids submitted, therefore it’s all self motivated by the kids.”

Five Different Areas of Innovation:
1) Arts, Media, and Literature
2) Business Entrepreneurship
3) Food, Health & Nutrition
4) Social Entrepreneurship
Link to Celebrating High School Innovators
Jack McDermott’s Innovation
Keaton Kellers Innovation