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New CNA Class Benefits Students

For the first time, Portland students are able to become Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) through an after-school class, thanks to a partnership between Portland High School Extended Learning Opportunities, Saint Joseph’s Rehabilitation and Residence, and the Boys and Girls Club.

For many years, Portland High School students have expressed interest in becoming CNAs through an after-school class, said Andrea Levinsky, the extended learning opportunities (ELO) coordinator for PHS. While students can become a CNA at age 16 and can earn the certificate through PATHS, there has never been a program that works with a student after-school schedule, she said. The class also welcomes students from the surrounding area.

Joel Rogers, a Portland High alum and administrator at Saint Joseph’s visioned the class based off of his previous success in working with multilingual learners. In addition to funding the teachers, and materials, Saint Joseph’s generously pays the students to participate in the class and is committed to making the class as accessible as possible. The Boys and Girls Club hosts the class.

The class is full with a waitlist and there will be another class this summer (open to any student), which is also full with a waitlist. The partnership will continue into next school year as well.

Saytun Abdullahi, a junior taking the class who is in both the Make it Happen program and JMG, has been wanting to become a CNA since her freshman year.

She said, “I like how informative our teacher is. She will go over something in class several times just to prepare us for the test.”

She plans on getting her license and work as a CNA after the class is over and said: “The class is giving me a lot of understanding on how the healthcare field works, what CNAs do, and how they are helpful to the healthcare field.”

For more information about this program, contact PHS ELO Coordinator Andrea Levinsky at