For the second time in three years, Eden Prairie High School (EPHS) senior Sasha Allen clinched the $6,000 grand prize in the Discovery Award competition, sponsored by the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes (LMC). Sophomore Nico Allen won a $500 Honorable Mention award.
Sasha earned the top honor for her documentary, “3-6-9 Kid: How Child Spy Agnes Láckovič Saved Hundreds from the Nazis.”
The film chronicles the heroic efforts of teenage World War II spy Agnes Láckovič, who thwarted Nazi plans using her talents and stealth. Starting at the age of 14, Czechoslovakian-born Láckovič became an Allied spy in Munich, Germany.
Using her 4-foot-8-inch stature to remain unnoticed, she worked within a network of Allied agents to relay strategic communications through coded notes and musical performances. She and her aunt, Rosa Schneider, also helped smuggle hundreds of Jews and Allied servicemen out of Germany, saving them from Nazi persecution.
Allen had previously won the top prize in 2021 for her project on Unsung Hero Gareth Jones. Her documentary, “Walking in the Land of Death: How Gareth Jones Gave Voice to the Victims of the Holodomor,” detailed the Welsh journalist’s exposé of the 1932-33 Ukraine famine.
Allen was surprised with her $6,000 grand prize award by LMC Chief Executive Officer Norm Conard at the Cummins-Phipps-Grill House in Eden Prairie on Sept. 20.
“Sasha Allen’s project will be the perfect addition to our Hall of Unsung Heroes,” Conard said. “Using primary research and interviews with Agnes Láckovič’s daughter, Sasha’s documentary masterfully relates the powerful impact of this 17-year-old unsung hero, who courageously saved the lives of hundreds of Jews and other endangered people during World War II.”
“Real heroes tower and guide,” said LMC Founder Lowell Milken. “But their stories need to be discovered and heard. And when we do, we have the opportunity to motivate new generations to aspire to values that are essential during the challenging times we face individually, as a nation and as a world community.”
Kathie Case, president of the Eden Prairie Historical Society, expressed her deep appreciation to Allen for honoring Láckovič, whose married name was Agnes Daluge. Among those present for the announcement were Allen’s family and historical society members.
“Thank you for honoring Agnes Daluge,” Case wrote on the Historical Society’s Facebook page, EP Remembers. “Your documentary was beautifully crafted. Agnes and her husband resided in Eden Prairie for three decades. As a young spy, she saved many lives. Sharing her heroism is inspiring.”
Also that same day at the Cummins-Phipps-Grill House, Nico Allen, who is Sasha’s younger brother, was honored for his website, “A Man of Conviction: How Aristides de Sousa Mendes Saved 30,000 People From the Nazis.”
The project details how, in June 1940, Portugal’s consul in Bordeaux defied orders to illegally issue visas to 30,000 people, 10,000 of whom were Jews. Despite this bravery, Sousa Mendes faced severe consequences, died in poverty, and remains largely unrecognized. Both siblings had their awards presented by Conard at the historic house.
The Discovery Award celebrates students who bring attention to unsung heroes from history. This year, more than $20,000 in cash prizes were distributed to worthy recipients.
Since its inception in 2007, the LMC has sought to spotlight lesser-known heroes, reaching millions of students globally.
Editor’s Note: For total transparency, both award winners are the children of Juliana Allen, the education reporter for Eden Prairie Local News (EPLN).
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