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Harris Hill Elementary School Teacher Wins Music Educator Award

Harris Hill Elementary School Teacher Wins Music Educator Award
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As students learn the basics of reading, creating and performing music in the classroom of Harris Hill Elementary School music teacher Marissa DeVoe, they are finding more than music instruction. They are discovering inspiration and creating memories to carry with them throughout their lives. 

“I think music classes allow them to be exposed to a wide variety of music outside of what they normally listen to,” she said. “It gives them an outlet to be creative and show off their talents and work together.”

DeVoe, a teacher at the school for the last three years, was named Buffalo State University's General Music Educator of the Year, which recognizes music educators who make outstanding contributions to their students, their institution, and the field of music education. DeVoe was recognized by her undergraduate and graduate alma mater during a concert held at the university on April 30, and said she was honored to win the award.

“I’ve watched the winners for many years,” DeVoe said. “I feel blessed to be a part of that group of educators now.”

DeVoe said that her love of music and singing developed in elementary school in Lockport as she learned from music teacher Constance Allison, and also from the encouragement she received from her mother to take part in theatrical stage productions. As an educator, DeVoe said that one of the favorite parts of her work is seeing her students’ “lightbulb moments” of discovery in their learning.

“It’s one of the coolest things to experience,” she said. “You feel a sense of pride, and you can see their sense of pride for themselves.”

Among the initiatives taken on by DeVoe was launching and directing a musical for students as part of the school’s Night of the Arts. This year’s show, 101 Dalmatians, featured a cast and crew of more than 70 students.

Lara Eyrick, a reading teacher who co-directed the musical with DeVoe, said that the music teacher put in countless hours to ensure the success of students in the show.

“She is so devoted to the children,” she said. “She brings out the best in them.”

For more than 10 years, the Clarence Central School District has received the Best Communities for Music Education award from the NAMM Foundation, which reflects schools that demonstrate exceptionally high levels of commitment and access to music education. For more information, visit https://www.clarenceschools.org/music

Harris Hill Elementary School music teacher Marissa DeVoe sings with students during an assembly marking Veterans Day in November 2023.
Marissa DeVoe accepts Buffalo State University's General Music Educator of the Year award during a concert held at the university on April 30. DeVoe has been an music teacher at Harris Hill Elementary School for the last three years.
Harris Hill Elementary School music teacher Marissa DeVoe takes part in a music lesson with students in September 2022.