By Shondalea Wollaston
This September Delaware County Community College will reach a major milestone; the college will celebrate 50 years, despite initial opposition by public officials and surrounding residents.
Allyson Gleason, director of Campus Life, has been planning a week-long Spring Fest celebration that will be held on the Marple campus beginning April 24, 2017, to commemorate the 50th anniversary, and Kathleen Breslin, vice president for Institutional Advancement and executive director of the DCCC Educational Foundation, has been putting in overtime to complete a major project that will piece together the last 50 years of DCCC’s history.
There has also been talk of opening the recently discovered time capsule buried 50 years ago.
According to Gleason, Spring Fest will include inflatables, popcorn, a band, and lots of fun activities, that will include a contest to determine what goes in the next time capsule, to be buried somewhere on the Marple campus.
But to really appreciate just how far DCCC has come, you would need to know the history and the hurdles overcome to get here.
According to Letters to the Editor, in the News of Delaware County, dated Mar. 10, 1966, DCCC was once described as a “socialistic venture in education which does not serve any real purpose, but rather duplication of effort to serve only the purpose of professional educators for job opportunities and higher salaries at tax payers expense.”
The DCCC repository reveals there was no shortage of conflict 50 years ago, and much like today, there were opposing
Arielle Cyler, 25, majored in early childhood education and began DCCC in the fall semester of 2012 to spring semester of 2015.
Once homeless in Atlanta, Ga, Cyler said she endured many difficult and different experiences during her time at DCCC, including the death of a loved one and culture shock. Through all of these experiences, Cyler’s professors kept helping her along the way.
“Each professor I had gave me a great experience,” Cyler said. “They gave me confidence and I was able to believe that I could achieve more.”
Cyler attended Clark Atlanta University, despite her family being homeless. Eventually, the family decided to move to Pennsylvania in May 2012.
At first, Cyler was in denial about moving. “It was a complete culture shock,” she said. In order to better cope with the change, Cyler visited a DCCC psychology professor.
“Obama Signs Executive Order Banning The Pledge of Allegiance In Schools Nationwide,” read the headline of an article published by ABC News on Dec. 11, 2016, garnering more than 2 million shares on Facebook.
This may sound like a legitimate article but is, in fact, a fake news source disguising itself to look real. The fake source it came from was ABCNews.com. co, a website disguised to mimic ABCNews.com. ABC recently changed its URL because of this mishap.
According to Forbes, stories like the one mentioned in the opening paragraph have been a benefit to a growing industry of sites that deliberately publish misleading stories with the hope that they’ll go viral.
Although false stories are nothing new, fake news has boomed due to the rise of social media.
Stopping the proliferation of fake news isn’t just the responsibility of the platforms used to spread it. Those who consume news need to find ways of determining if what they’re reading is true, experts believe.
To protect oneself from fake news sources, consumers can visit several fact checking sites, such as Snopes, which has been exposing false viral claims since the mid-1990s, whether that’s fabricated messages, distortions sides willing to fight for what they felt would benefit Delaware County most.
The battle to bring a community college to Delaware County began when legislature passed the Community College Act of 1963, authorizing school districts and county boards the power to sponsor community colleges.
Dr. Clyde Blocker, president of Harrisburg Community College, and Dr. Charles E. Rollins, president of Bucks County Community College, urged the establishment of a community college according to the Delaware County Daily Times, Feb. 9, 1966.
A long battle would ensue.
According to the Evening Bulletin dated Jul. 15, 1966, Frank A. Snear Jr, chairperson of the County Commissioners Office, and his Republican colleague, Harry A. McNichol, invited Penn State to set up an extension campus in Delaware County.
According to the Evening Bulletin, Democratic minority commissioner William A. Welsh voted against the proposal and was in favor of a community college.
“The county commissioners’ decision to ask Penn State for an extension campus was viewed as shutting the door on county sponsorship of a community college,” he said.
The article stated that the Delaware County Health and Welfare Councils’ committee on higher education had recommended the community college plans to provide better educational opportunities and satisfy the needs of local industry.
However, a request by the Delaware County Council of Higher Education and the county’s board of school directors to serve as local sponsors for a two-year community college was rejected by a county Commissioners in favor of the establishment of an extension of Penn State’s campuses, according to a Daily Times article from 1966.
The County Board of Commissioners, reluctant to sponsor a two-year college, forced backers to seek sponsorship from local school districts.
Meanwhile, flyers distributed by Penn State, in an effort to explain the extension of its campus, were distributed around Delaware county and described as propaganda by critics.
The cost of printing and distribution was often a topic of discussion as it soared to over $8,400 as reported by The Bulletin, in an editorial dated Sept. 22, 1966.
“Delaware County Board of Commissioners is spending taxpayers’ money to give the public its views on the community college-extension campus controversy,” the same editorial said.
In a separate article in The Bulletin, a committee meeting was interrupted by what was described as “one small group [that represented the Delaware County Commissioners] that walked in just long enough to speak their peace and then depart before they could listen to any of the other excellent speakers who followed them on the program.”
Taxpayer lawsuits ensured the battle to bring a community college to Delaware County would continue for several years, “fueled by fears of Penn State’s desire for an extension to its main campus, and tax hikes dousing the desire for a community college” in the area.
The case eventually landed in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania as stated in an article dated Jun. 22, 1967.
In an unanimous opinion written by Justice Herbert B. Cohen, the court rejected a tax payers protest that the operation in Delaware County was unconstitutional, according to an article in The Bulletin dated Apr. 16, 1968.
Meanwhile, DCCC began classes at Ridley High School, Folsom, on Sept. 25, 1967 in portable buildings and rented classrooms.
One of the first students to attend DCCC was Jeanne Theresa Livingston of Prospect Park, age 18, who entered Delaware County Community College to study nursing. She was a 1967 graduate of Archbishop Prendergast High School.
According to the archives, Livingston began applying for jobs in the Delaware County Daily times as early as age 14, to save for college, turning down an opportunity to attend St. Josephs’ College in Philadelphia after receiving a state scholarship that covered her tuition at DCCC, a mere $165 a semester.
“I didn’t really want to go to St. Joe’s,” she told a reporter in 1967, adding the college came highly recommended by her high school.
According to an article from Interboro news dated Jun. 25, 1970, Livingston, following graduation on Jun. 18, 1970, the first class of graduating nurses, left to begin work in North Anson, Maine as a Camp Nurse for the Devereaux Foundation.
Kathleen Breslin suggests using DCCC’s repository to locate information on the history of DCCC or any alumni. “It is a wealth of information for anyone wishing to take the time to find out more on the history of the college,” she said.
Breslin, working overtime for months, is finally putting the finishing touches on a book of historical facts, carefully piecing together the 50-year history of DCCC.
Contact Shondalea Wollaston at email@example.com