Emily Reier, right, a Jay County High School senior, was honored this month as a winner of one of the Indiana Department of Education Awards for Excellence. She is pictured with JCHS vocational agriculture teacher Brittany Kloer, who nominated her for the honor. (Photo provided)
Emily Reier, right, a Jay County High School senior, was honored this month as a winner of one of the Indiana Department of Education Awards for Excellence. She is pictured with JCHS vocational agriculture teacher Brittany Kloer, who nominated her for the honor. (Photo provided)
Emily Reier holds four jobs.

One of them involves owning a farming operation with her three sisters.

So when it came to choosing a student for an award involving career education, the Jay County High School senior’s resume stood out.

Reier was honored this month as she was chosen as the Indiana Department of Education Awards for Excellence winner for career and technical education (CTE) in Area 18, which includes Jay County, South Adams, Blackford, Southern Wells, Adams Central, Bluffton, Bellmont, Norwell and Huntington North high schools.

She is the first JCHS student to earn the award, which recognizes overall academic achievements, community service efforts and career-based learning.

Reier’s career-based learning experience is through her job at Minnich Poultry. But she also owns and operates Reier Family Farm with her sisters Katie, Abby and Morgan, works for Reier Pullets and babysits.

“We are blessed to have several students here that owned their own business, but obviously Emily and her sisters have taken it to a whole ’nother level that we don’t normally see at this age,” said JCHS vocational agriculture teacher Brittany Kloer, who nominated Reier for the honor. “Her entrepreneurship skills and leadership skills have definitely evolved over the last couple of years. It definitely shows with this prestigious award.”

Reier handles a variety of tasks for Minnich, including landscaping and machine services. She also works in the maintenance and apprentice shop.

The family farm was formed five years ago as a joint project between the Reier girls.

They rented land from their dad, purchased tractors and did “a lot of research.” Together, the sisters now farm about 160 acres in corn and beans while also raising dairy feeders and steers.

“We just really wanted to do it for years so my dad helped us get started,” said Reier, who plans to study mechanical engineering at the University of Toledo. “It was a lot of work, but we really like seeing our results and the improvement from year to year.”

She is the president of Jay County FFA, and also raises and shows dairy feeder steers in 4-H. Her other activities include the JCHS tennis team, CYO, student council and National Honor Society.

She has taken a variety of CTE classes at JCHS, including intro to agriculture, animal science, food science, agriculture, business management and supervised agriculture experience.

“It’s just taught me a lot of responsibility,” said Reier. “Having taken all of those classes, there’s obviously a lot of work that needs to be done. So learning how to manage my time … it just teaches you a lot of life lessons.”