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The Discovery Center, led by Rob Blevins, is being recognized for its education work.
SBJ file
The Discovery Center, led by Rob Blevins, is being recognized for its education work.

Discovery Center named finalist for $1M prize

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The Discovery Center of Springfield Inc. is one step closer to a $1 million education prize.

The Springfield nonprofit is one of five finalists for the national STOP Award, a prize that recognizes education providers that are Sustainable, Transformational, Outstanding and Permissionless, according to a news release. Discovery Center was chosen as a finalist after 20 semifinalists were unveiled last month by the Center for Education Reform and media partner Forbes.

The winner of the $1 million prize is scheduled to be announced Dec. 14. The Discovery Center will receive at least $250,000, according to Janine Yass, STOP Award benefactor, who announced the four finalists who don't receive the top prize all would get that funding amount.

“I’ve always said that I get the privilege of leading one of the best teams in the world, but now my team gets to hear it from someone else that isn’t biased," Discovery Center Executive Director Rob Blevins said in the release. “We’re grateful to all of our partners, donors and volunteers during this experience that helped us help the helpers and kept the needs of our kids front and center during a really difficult time.”

Last year, the Discovery Center began offering child care services for health care workers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The nonprofit also recently launched Discovery School at the Center, a private school that focuses on science, technology, engineering and math programming.

The other finalists are CARE Elementary School, or Christian Academy for Reaching Excellence, in Miami, Florida; the Dallas Education Foundation in Texas; the Louisiana Key Academy; and Rock by Rock, a New York City-based startup that helps with education at home, according to the STOP Award's website.

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