When Linda Mitchem graduated from high school in the 1960s, a home economics teacher predicted her future.

“She told me I would be a perfect wife and mother. I loved to cook, and I was good at it,” Mitchem said.

She fell in love, married and had three children. Although she loved the roles of wife and mother, something was always missing, Mitchem said.

“Someone told me once I was an overachiever in an underachiever’s environment. I think that’s true. I had this desire to learn and to be something more, but I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what that was.”

As a child, she had dreamed of being a teacher. The desire to return to school and reach for that dream seemed impossible, but at 42, Mitchem made the first step — she enrolled in Beckley College.

“That first year was really hard,” the Beckley woman recalled. “I hadn’t done anything with my brain but plan meals and take my kids places. Having to settle down and study and wrap my head around the classes was hard.”

The second year was better, and Mitchem’s thirst for knowledge took her past graduation from Beckley College to Concord, where she earned a teaching degree in 1989. She taught for a few years, but found her niche as the children’s librarian at the Raleigh County Public Library.

“I am a teacher here,” Mitchem said. “I’m a supervisor of three women, and I teach them what we do and how to do it. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t teach someone from the general public how to access information.”

After college graduation, Mitchem joined the American Association of University Women, an organization that promotes higher education for women.

“I wanted to be part of helping other women achieve their goals,” Mitchem said. “Moms can go back to school, and the ‘Mom’s Turn to Learn’ effort is designed to show them how.”

AAUW and Mountain State University will host a “Mom’s Turn to Learn” day Saturday at Crossroads Mall. Mitchem will be at the AAUW booth from 2 to 4 p.m. to talk with women about her experiences.

Information about the various kinds of educational programs and financial support options will be available. For more information, call 252-5848.

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