‘Blind Side’ tutor to speak at SCCC commencement ceremony on Sunday

Sue Mitchell, a key figure in the best-selling book “The Blind Side” and in the Oscar-nominated movie of the same title, will deliver the keynote address at Southwest Colorado Community College’s commencement next weekend.

The event will take place Sunday, May 12, beginning at 2 p.m. in Fort Lewis College’s Whalen Gymnasium.

The commencement is for graduates of SCCC’s Durango and Cortez/Mancos branch graduates. The previous evening, Mitchell will join SCCC and Pueblo Community College personnel at a graduation celebration dinner, also scheduled at Fort Lewis College.

Portrayed by Kathy Bates as “Miss Sue” in “The Blind Side,” Mitchell became famous for tutoring Michael Oher from an 0.6 GPA to a 2.05 in high school and then to a 3.75 scholastic average and on the Dean’s List at the University of Mississippi.

He went on to star for the National Football League’s Baltimore Ravens, for whom he still plays.

“I always knew Michael would succeed, but that doesn’t make me any less proud,” Mitchell said. “Michael saw his opportunity and took advantage of it. Once he gained the necessary confidence, there was no stopping him in the classroom or on the football field.”

Her work with Oher didn’t end once he began attending Mississippi. Mitchell retired from teaching and moved to Oxford, Miss., to be near family, and she then accepted a position with the University of Mississippi as a learning specialist.

From 2005 to 2009, Mitchell worked for the athletic department, tutoring Oher and other athletes with similar backgrounds.

Now a motivational speaker, Mitchell tells her story from the perspective of an educator and learning specialist.

A believer that any student can achieve academic success with the right blend of motivation and applied learning, Mitchell inspires both students and instructors to explore new opportunities in teaching and learning. She is expected to blend those themes into her commencement addresses.