Missouri State University
Diana Maniace

Diana Maniace

Returning home allowed her to return to school

Inspired by her parents, Diana Maniace returned to school to become a teacher and mentor for children.

In 2014, Diana started attending Crowder College as a 46-year-old, first-time college student.

She graduated with her AAT in May of 2017, and transferred to Missouri State in Neosho.

She is now pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with an emphasis in middle school education. She plans to teach middle school science or social studies.

Balancing life, work and school

A lot has happened in the last decade for Diana. After 23 years of marriage, she and her husband divorced.

At the time, her two children were high school students. During her marriage, her family moved across the country several times (and once overseas to Wuerzburg, Germany). When she divorced, she relocated to Joplin to be close to her mother.

Now 81, her mother is her “biggest fan.”

Diana was a student at Crowder when Larry Nichols and Carl Nichols visited her class to talk about Missouri State University in Neosho’s cohort-based education program.

“I was so impressed with what they had to say about the program.”

“I believe that children need a mentor, someone that will be their champion and help them to know their self-value.” 

She’s happy with her decision to continue her education at MSU in Neosho. Having classes two days a week makes it easy to schedule work around class times.

Also, the cohort model has been great for her, personally.

“I love my cohort team. This includes the teachers as well as my peers. The small classroom size gives us more of a chance to have more one-on-one time with our instructors. It has enabled us to form a bond that will be there for a lifetime.”

Inspired by her parent's past

Diana is excited to be an educator. Her passion for teaching is hard to miss.

“I sign all my emails 'Future Teacher' for the simple reason of, ‘self-fulfilling prophecies.’”

For Diana, the decision to become a teacher was deeply personal.

“My father dropped out of school after he reached the 8th grade and during his lifetime he never learned how to read or write. When he died in his 60s, he still could not do either one.

This meant that he did not have a driver’s license and had to have help to do many things people take for granted. My goal is to ensure that children learn how to read and value the importance of education.”

She’s had plenty of great education role models along the way, including several of her MSU instructors. She appreciates Mrs. Lineberry’s useful advice for classroom management and helpful activities for writing and reading.

Carl Nichols's math instruction has been instrumental in helping her gain confidence in teaching math. She is also influenced by teachers she had when she was an elementary student herself.

“When I moved to Joplin as a little girl, my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. McKinley, really took the time to connect with her students. I can remember that I was devastated that my dog had gotten run over and when I got a new puppy, she took the time to come to my house. My goal is to be the kind of teacher that she was to her students.”