Education takes mom from terrified to elite

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Anna Mitchell of Dozier took a giant leap from being a “terrified” nontraditional college student to joining an elite national group by earning the maximum ACT score in English.


She earned the highest possible score of 36 on the English section of the ACT Test, a national educational assessment tool, which places her in the top one percent in the nation.

This amazing transformation was not exactly planned. In 1998, Mitchell’s educational journey ended with a high school diploma. She was enjoying living in Dozier with husband Rammie and their four sons, ranging from grades four to 11 at Straughn school.

Then suddenly, their world was shaken with a difficult, unexpected medical diagnosis that made her realize a need to consider future employment options with enough earning potential to support the family.

“I want to be able to take care of my family when the need arises,” she said. She hopes to do that by completing Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in taxation law.

“I enjoy solving problems. I also enjoy mathematics and law. Those all came together in this major,” she said. She hopes to eventually work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in forensic accounting.

Taking that first step on the road to a higher education was not easy for her, however.

“I was terrified of returning to school,” she said, explaining that years at home as a housewife and mother with little socializing left her feeling insecure about pursuing a degree.

“Rammie had encouraged me to go back to school for years. It was just the fear holding me back. The medical reasons finally got me motivated.”

She said she hopes sharing her story helps alleviate the fears of others to start their own journey.

“I thought I was not smart enough, that I would be wasting time,” she said, unsure at first if she would be able to complete her goals.

“That stopped me for a few months,” she said. “I felt the clock was ticking, that I had to get it now or never would.”

So she started taking classes at LBW Community College in Andalusia.

“I just jumped in. The instructors at LBW were extremely helpful, eager to talk about anything. They were encouraging and helped me continue.”

Now, two years later, Mitchell will soon receive an Associate in Science Degree with the highest academic recognition as a Summa Cum Laude graduate. She plans to transfer to Troy University where she was offered a scholarship.

“I will be the first non-traditional student to be accepted in Troy’s Honors Program,” she said. She was invited to participate in the Honors Colloquium and the University Capstone Seminar in Leadership.

A condition of the scholarship was a minimum composite ACT score of 27 and a GPA of 3.5, both of which she surpassed.

She admits disappointment with her math ACT score, however.

“I had hoped the math would be higher, and am considering retaking the exam,” she said. Because she scored the highest in English, she is now considering an English minor.

“This is my dream. Through my dream, I am also opening the door for others to pursue their dreams,” she said, explaining that her family is now beginning to see a larger world with greater possibilities.

“My husband is excited for me. He’s starting to dream of things we’ll be able to do. He’s lived on the same piece of dirt all his life. Now he’s seeing things open up and realizing how much more there is to do out there.”