Delaware County Community College is proud of the achievements of our alumni, and we are especially honored to hear what they say about their experience at the College.

JoAnna Collins, Early Childhood Director Certificate
Career: Owner, Creative Play Day School

JoAnna Collins admits she went “kicking and screaming” to her first course in the Early Childhood Director Certificate program, certain that she didn’t need this; she already was co-owner and director of education at a successful early learning and care center.

The first course I took at the College was an awakening. It forced me to re-examine my personal philosophy and to revamp my professional approach to care and education.”

Collins is now a strong advocate of continuing education.

Collins had worked as a private practice nurse for 20 years before tackling a life and career change by enrolling in night classes at Neumann College in 1993. While raising three sons and running an in-home child care business, she earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in early education and education leadership. In 2000, she and a colleague, Lisa Voicheck, purchased an existing facility in Toughkenamon, re-naming it the Creative Play Day School.

The school enrolls about 150 children and employs a staff of 30, most of whom have earned a child development associate certificate or an associate degree at Delaware County Community College. “All of the teachers of children aged 3-5 hold teaching degrees,” Collins said.

Julia Shmayger, A.A., education
Career goal: elementary school teacher

Julia Shmayger always wanted to be a teacher.

She loved working with children as a nanny and as a babysitter at her church. So when she graduated from Ridley High School four years ago, she found herself at Delaware County Community College as an education major.

Her brother and sister both had attended the College. "They told me I would have great facilities and professors who really cared about me, who would really serve as mentors," Shmayger said. "It was true, and now I know I will be living my dream."

Shmayger found the flexibility of class offerings at the College to be just what she needed. She could continue working as a nanny and take courses over the summer to get through the requirements in two years.

The labs, especially in math and science [in which she has been certified to teach] were much, much better than I could have dreamed of. It gave me confidence in the steps I would have to take to be a good teacher."

After earning her associate degree in education, Shmayger transferred all her credits to West Chester University, where she felt properly prepared for a four-year college.

Educationally, it was hardly different. In fact, it may have been easier, just because of how well the College prepared me."

Shmayger did her student teaching with a second grade class in the Wallingford school district. She expects to teach nearby in the fall, after graduating from West Chester.

"Every morning I wake up and know I made the right choice by first going to Delaware County Community College," she said. "I got great support from my teachers there and expect to give the same for my students in my career as well."

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