Full circle: From Head Start student to teacher - Luzerne County Head Start
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Full circle: From Head Start student to teacher

January 26, 2024

Dana Weidman, teacher at the Mehoopany Center of Luzerne County Head Start

Dana Weidman experienced what she calls the “full circle of life of Head Start.”

Her Head Start journey began in 1999 as a 3-year-old preschool student at the Beekman Street Center of Luzerne County Head Start. Weidman credits the program with setting a foundation for her future success, from academics to socializing with peers. Her teacher even inspired her future career path.  

After two years of preschool at LCHS, Weidman successfully transitioned to kindergarten. However, her Head Start story didn’t end there. 

Later, Weidman decided to give back to LCHS as a volunteer. She primarily volunteered for Jump Start, a supplemental program the agency offers to a select group of incoming students every summer, and helped out teachers in their classrooms. This included her mother, Aimee Schneider, a longtime LCHS teacher who now works in the Edwardsville Center. 

As a senior at Coughlin High School, Weidman earned an LCHS Alumni Scholarship from the agency that allowed her to purchase textbooks for her first year at Wilkes University. She originally pursued nursing, but it just didn’t feel right. Knowing her heart was in early childhood and elementary education, Weidman switched majors. She graduated in 2018. 

After college, she heard of a job opportunity where it all began: Luzerne County Head Start. The agency’s Mehoopany Center in Wyoming County needed a teacher, and Weidman had no doubt that she would be the perfect fit. 

“It’s actually really emotional for me because that’s where my roots started,” she said. 

Knowing firsthand the importance of giving children a “Head Start” in school and life, Weidman appreciates being a part of the mission for future generations. She wants students to think of school as a safe place to learn and have fun. 

“The best part about being a Head Start teacher is to see the growth from Day 1 to Day 180,” she said. 

Several “mission moments” come to mind when Weidman reflects on her time at LCHS. It spoke volumes to Weidman when a former Head Start student, now in fourth grade, told her “Miss Dana, I wish that I can come back to your classroom.” 

“Once they step foot into my classroom, I always tell their parents that they’re my children now, so I will treat them and love them and teach them how I would want my child to be taught and loved and cared for,” she said.