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UV Ag and Tech Teacher Wins Two Awards and Vies for National Award

A Unadilla Valley faculty member is in the running for a national teacher of the year award.

In June, UV agriscience  teacher Jessica DeVries, who is also the FFA advisor, won the New York State AgriScience Teacher of the Year Award.  This makes her the first teacher from UV to win that award and she has now entered the national competition.

She received the state award at the New York State Association of Agricultural Educators Conference.

“It’s a huge honor. I was actually nominated two other years. It’s an honor to receive it,” DeVries said recently. “It helps boost our program here at UV with all of the initiatives we do. It’s nice to be recognized for the students’ hard work and my work.”

DeVries is in her 20th year of teaching – 18 of which have been at Unadilla Valley.

Unadilla Valley has a robust FAA and Ag and Tech program and students are reaping rewards from it, according to DeVries.

“Students look forward to hands on learning. There is a lot of group work. There is a lot of independent study,” DeVries said.

Unadilla Valley’s Ag and Tech Program currently offers 39 college credits, which gives students the potential for a significant head start after they graduate high school.

DeVries said she will interview at the National FFA Convention in October. From there, two educators will be selected to attend the National Ag Educators Conference in Las Vegas later in the fall.

DeVries also received a second award .

Her initiative, the Seventh Grade Entrepreneurial Project, was recognized with the Ideas Unlimited Award.  DeVries won out against competitors from 14 other states.

The project has been done at UV for 11 years and features seventh grade students building their own businesses. They develop their own products, marketing strategies, a commercial and calculate net production costs and losses.

During one part of the project, students develop a juice box.

“They design the box with all the proper nutrition labeling,” DeVries said.

A second part of the project involves students creating their own cookie brand.

“They get really creative,” DeVries said.

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