Wilkes University Student Jeanine Manta Wins Outstanding Adult Learner Award
Jeanine Manta, of Exeter, Pa., was named Wilkes University’s Outstanding Adult Learner. A dinner sponsored by the Luzerne County Council on Adult Higher Education was held at King’s College on March 22 to honor Manta and winners from other schools. Manta is a first generation college student who has maintained a 3.9 grade point average while carrying strenuous classloads, directing a daycare center, and raising her daughter.
In Fall 2015, Manta completed her degree in elementary and early childhood education with dual certification in special education after coming to Wilkes with an associate’s degree in early childhood education from Luzerne County Community College. She won the Marla Hosey Memorial Award, which recognizes a promising undergraduate in the Education Department. She was also inducted into the international honor society Kappa Delta Pi. Manta finished her special education certification with science mastery as an additional credential in January 2016, graduating summa cum laude.
In nominating Manta for the award, Anne Thomas, of Wilkes University’s education department states, “She [Manta] is my shining example of persistence for those students I work with when they become discouraged, when they face obstacles.” She cites the university’s English department as being “fortunate and proud” to have such a student in their midst.
Manta’s commitment to becoming an educator was inspired early on, when her second grade teacher created a learning opportunity from what some might describe as a “wrong” answer. The teacher encouraged Manta to view the “wrong” answer from a different perspective. This teachable moment fostered a desire within her to inspire other children in the same way.
According to Manta, “Teaching is important for endless reasons. Being a teacher means being there, giving everything I can, making sure I am as knowledgeable as I can be about my content and about my students' lives; it means sacrifice for the sake of helping kids in need and it means caring about students unconditionally.”
Manta admits that her drive and determination would have been for naught without the love and support she received from family. She says her daughter, Gabriella, is her “reason and inspiration.” Manta’s feelings of gratitude do not end there: “Without [my family’s] support, I would not have been able to get my degree and accomplish what I have. Thank you to my family and friends for supporting me through this journey. I also want to give a special thanks to the Wilkes Education Department for believing in me and for all the encouragement that they gave while at Wilkes. “