Two educators honored at the 30th annual ATHENA Award Gala, presented by the Canandaigua Chamber of Commerce and the Professional Women of the Finger Lakes.

HOPEWELL — The mood was festive and the company impressive at the 30th annual ATHENA Award Gala, held Friday night at the Finger Lakes Community College Student Center. Two educators were recognized with top honors amid a field of nine outstanding nominees. Deborah Wilbur received the 2014 Canandaigua ATHENA Award, and Nadia Harvieux received the 2014 ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award. All were recognized for exemplary leadership, mentorship and community service.

Wilbur, a special education teacher with the Canandaigua City School District, was recognized, along with four other nominees, for exemplifying such qualities of leadership as learning, authentic self, collaboration, courageous acts, relationships, celebration and joy, giving back and fierce advocacy.

“I was overwhelmed to have the nomination,” said Wilbur. “And tonight it was just so thrilling to have my family here, especially my mom, for her to be able to see the fruit of her labor.”

In addition to her immediate family at the Gala, Wilbur enjoyed the support of fellow teachers and administrators, and a surprise contingent of 18 members of her book club.

“We've been friends for 25 years,” Wilbur said. “I had no idea that they were all coming.”

Wilbur said she plans to retire in June, but doesn't know what her next direction will be after that.

“I've loved education, but I know that there's more to be done,” said Wilbur. “There's some other thing that needs doing, that is just waiting for me to find it.”

This Canandaigua ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award recipient was Nadia Harvieux, conservation outreach educator and adjunct instructor at the Muller Field Station of the Finger Lakes Community College Conservation Department, and education program manager at Finger Lakes Institute of Hobart William Smith Colleges.

Harvieux and five other nominees were recognized as women who are emerging leaders, 40 years of age or younger, who demonstrate excellence, creativity and initiative in their business or profession, who provide valuable service to improve the quality of life for others in their community, and who clearly serve as a role model for young women both personally and professionally.

“It's overwhelming, such an honor,” Harvieux. “Growing up in this community, so many of these women have been, and are, role models for me, so to be part of that is just tremendous.”

Looking back, Harvieux is most proud of having helped kids get connected to nature.

“Getting them out of their comfort zone, having a new experience and interacting with the environment is just really neat,” she said.

Looking ahead, the former eighth grade earth science teacher said she's always wanted to gear courses or programs specifically to middle school girls to engage them to explore scientific fields. She hopes to collaborate with friends to make that happen in the future.

“I am really proud that the ATHENA program recognized two educators this year,” said Harvieux. “That's such a boost to people who work in this profession. It's just tremendous.”

Also honored were ATHENA Award nominees Jennifer Barlow, multi-media sales executive at GateHouse Media, Inc.; Mary Green, casework, constituent services, field representation at the office of Congressman Tom Reed; Martha (Marty) Potter, president of Potter HVAC & Metal Fab, Inc.; and Pat Rini Rohrer, owner of Pat Rini Rohrer Gallery.

Also honored were ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award nominess Jennie Erdle, director of student life at Finger Lakes Community College; Jenny Goodemote, executive director of Wood Library; Nicole Heroux, co-owner and director of business development at Simply Crepes Café; Jennifer Kelley, architectural designer at SEI Design Group; and Erin Reese, program director at Mercy Flight Central.

The 30th annual ATHENA Award Gala, presented by the Canandaigua Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the Professional Women of the Finger Lakes, included dinner, cocktails, a media presentation featuring this year's ATHENA Award nominees, and a silent auction.

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