TAYLOR, NE — Sometimes great success can come from unsung places.

Taylor, Nebraska - with fewer than 200 people - is one of those places… which makes it a perfect place to study unsung heroes. That’s exactly what Loup County High School student Gracie Conrad did.

“I felt like I really hadn’t been seen before now," Conrad said. "I would do speech and stuff like that, and people would be like, ‘oh good job.’ But it was never like, ‘oh Gracie from population 190 Taylor did this.’”

That moment came on Monday for Conrad. Her documentary beat out hundreds of entries to win the International Discovery Award competition through the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes. She was surprised with the award during a ceremony in Fort Scott, Kansas.

“Obviously, I was balling. Happy tears, I’ve never had so many happy tears," Conrad said.

The documentary was part of a project assigned by English Teacher Megan Helberg.

“It makes them start to think that unsung heroes could be everywhere," Helberg said. "Unsung heroes are in your own community. You start to want to get to know people better and start to listen to their story.”

Conrad decided on her subject in January.  She selected Betty Goudsmit-Oudkerk, who helped smuggle more than 600 children to safety in The Netherlands during the Holocaust.

“She was brave when not many people were. She stood out when everyone in the world was trying to be the exact same,” Conrad said in her documentary.

“Betty was terrified through all of what she did. She was worried about being caught, worried about getting murdered, worried about getting deported - anything like that. She still stuck it out," Conrad said. "She was courageous and she was strong.”

Conrad interviewed Goudsmit-Oudkerk’s daughter, Judith, and collected never-before-seen photographs. She spent months perfecting the project.

“My whole goal as a teacher in small, rural Nebraska is - I want to bring these opportunities to my students and it’s up to the students to take it and run with it. Gracie did just that,” Helberg said.

Conrad received $6,000 in prize money, but to her, the honor is about spreading her subject’s story and representing her community.

“Due to my hard work and Betty’s amazing story, it got me to where people actually know who I am now," Conrad said. "It’s kind of crazy to think about how hard work can take you to a place.”

Conrad says she will put the prize money towards college and a breeding heifer.