A Minnesota School of Business graduate accomplished a lifelong dream this past quarter when she walked across the stage to receive her medical assistant degree at the age of 51.
“I wanted to work in the medical industry for as long as I can remember,” said recent graduate Laurri Mitchell. “I think my grandfather had something to do with it.”
At the age of 13, Mitchell was the only match to her grandfather who needed a kidney transplant.
“In the end, they didn’t do the transplant and removed one of his kidneys instead,” Mitchell said. “But the experience opened my eyes to the medical industry.”
Naturally, once Mitchell graduated from high school she started college to be a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).
“I was in my junior year of college and about ready to take my state exam when I was injured on the job and was told I couldn’t be a nurse anymore,” Mitchell said. “I was devastated.”
Over the next 30 years, Mitchell jumped from job to job, was married then divorced, had two amazing children, got remarried, but still felt something was missing.
Finally, in 2011, Mitchell had a knee replacement and it changed her life forever.
“After my knee replacement my doctor said I could go back into nursing,” explained Mitchell. “I was at Minnesota School of Business-Elk River checking out the medical assistant degree program within two weeks of receiving the news.”
Two months later, Mitchell started back on the path to achieving her dream career.
Unfortunately, luck wasn’t on her side.
“After my first quarter I didn’t think I was going to make it,” Mitchell said. “My father died during the quarter and it caused me to not be able to get my assignments in on time.”
Then Mitchell had to take a quarter off to help her mom, and once she started back up again her husband was diagnosed with cancer and needed a bone marrow transplant.
“Cancer plays with your emotions and your mind,” said Mitchell. “But he made it, and I made it.”
Not only did Mitchell “make it,” but she was awarded graduate of the quarter during the graduation ceremony.
“Despite all of Laurri’s obstacles, you would never know that she was facing hard times with her family since she always had a smile on her face and could make you laugh at a drop of a dime,” said Katherine Wollschlager, who nominated Mitchell for graduate of the quarter.
In Mitchell’s mind, it is Wollschlager and the entire staff at Minnesota School of Business-Elk River who helped get her to graduation day.
“From admissions to the instructors to the career services team,” Mitchell said, “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for them.”