Sun. May 19th, 2024

From Expelled to Excelled: Family First Grantee Daughters of Zion Graduates 11 CNA Students in Touching Ceremony Especially for One Student

By: Michele Coleman, April 30, 2024


MEMPHIS – Pamela Smith, a 61-year-old Family First participant, couldn’t contain her joy as her name was called to receive her CNA certificate. Just two weeks prior, she had been dismissed from the CNA program due to a verbal altercation with another student, who was also expelled. Even though she was defending herself against a younger student who frequently called her “old,” and repeatedly “kept messing with me about my age”; Pamela Smith acknowledged her mistake and pleaded with Daughters of Zion’s Executive Director, Dr. Gerald Kiner, for a second chance. Pamela realized the significance of this once-in-a-lifetime free opportunity to achieve her dream of becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant.

CNA Assistant Instructor -Teryka Walker, Executive Director Gerald Kiner, Nurse Instructor Barbara Jones, and Pamela Smith as she receives her certificate

In her heartfelt open letter to her classmates appealing for reinstatement, Pamela wrote: “I would like to apologize for my behavior. I take full responsibility for the loud outburst and sincerely regret it. This class was a remarkable opportunity for me, and I truly value it. Reflecting on this unfortunate incident, I humbly ask to be given the chance to complete this course. I have prayed about this and await your decision.”

Spring 2024 CNA Graduates William & Johnson Career College

When asked why she was reinstated, Dr. Kiner replied, “Age discrimination, harassment, and bullying are real issues. We have a security guard on site for every class to help prevent incidents Ms. Smith experienced and to ensure the safety of our students. She recognizes that her reaction was not characteristic of the woman she truly is, and I believe it was an isolated incident. Just as I have been granted second chances in the past, who am I to deny Pamela the opportunity for her second chance?”

Pamela Smith and Nurse Barbara Jones

Recalling her emotions as she walked across the stage, Pamela expressed, “I was overwhelmed with emotion as I crossed the stage; I was so grateful to God because what the devil intended for my bad, God turned into my good. My classmates were happy to see me, I was glad to see myself. I thank God, Dr. Kiner, and Daughters of Zion for giving me a second chance.”

CNA graduates and attendee show their excitement during graduation as Pamela Jones name is called


To enroll in Daughters of Zion’s June CNA Cohort call 901-570-3220 or use the link below William and Johnson Career College is a subsidiary of Daughters of Zion

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