Once a teacher, always a teacher

Sunrise Senior Living  |  September 26, 2017

Once a teacher, always a teacher. No one knows that better than Sunrise of Poland resident Jean Williams and newly licensed nurse, Delonte Carter.

Delonte had been a dedicated and popular member of the Sunrise of Poland team in northeastern Ohio for several years. A lead Care Manager, he was responsible for assisting residents with personal care and the activities of daily living. Delonte always went the extra mile, even pitching in to help with maintenance after the Maintenance Director was promoted.

But Delonte felt called to learn and grow. He was compassionately committed to older adults and needed to find a way to improve the lives of more seniors every day.

In the spring, he sat down with Executive Director Kerry Collins Smith to do a little soul searching.

“I want to do more,” Delonte told Kerry. But he wasn’t quite sure what that might entail.

The two of them spent time discussing his options and exploring ideas for what he could do next. They decided a career in nursing was a logical path for Delonte to take. Without wasting any time, he enrolled in a local nursing school.

But there was one hurdle standing in his way: the entrance exam.

Delonte was more than a little nervous about taking the test. A good amount of time had passed since he studied math, a core component of the exam, and he just wasn’t sure he could do it.

Unfortunately, Delonte didn’t pass the entrance exam on his first attempt.

Discouraged but not defeated, Delonte returned to Kerry’s office for advice. Kerry suggested finding someone to help refresh his math skills. A tutor, perhaps, so he could retake the test.

 As luck would have it Jean Williams, one of Sunrise of Poland’s residents, was a retired teacher and tutor. Together, Delonte and Kerry approached Jean to see if she would help.

Jean readily agreed and the two of them got to work. Jean proved to be a tough teacher! She worked with Delonte often and didn’t cut him any slack. He spent time studying with Jean every chance he could. And she gave him homework to work on in between tutoring sessions.

Finally, test day arrived again. This time, Delonte passed with flying colors. He went on to attend nursing school, graduate and become a licensed nurse.

On his final night as a Care Manager, Jean was the last resident that he helped. Then, on his first morning as a nurse, Jean was the first resident that he provided care for.

And Delonte’s story doesn’t end here. On his first day as a nurse at Sunrise of Poland, Kerry asked him what he wanted to do next.

His reply?

Become an Executive Director.

October 5th is World Teacher Day. In honor of World Teacher Day, Sunrise Senior Living salutes Jean and all of the teachers and tutors like her who help change the lives of people like Delonte every day. 

Live With Purpose at Sunrise Senior Living

At Sunrise, our eight signature Live With Purpose programs provide seniors with opportunities to engage, enjoy, express, learn, and grow each day. Click here to learn more!

Have Questions About Memory Loss?