TAMPA, Fla. — Cookie Mitchell's art class at Brooks Debartolo Collegiate High School is a place where creativity and confidence collide.
She brings that same energy to the court, too. Mitchell is the head coach for the school’s boys and girls volleyball teams.
Coach Cookie continues to rack up awards both on and off the court: Hillsborough County Art Educator of the Year; Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year; Ryan Nece Volleyball Coach of the Year.
Her proudest achievement is one that's still a work in progress.
“It’s upwards of 50 kids," says Mitchell.
That is the number of kids she sent to college on scholarship in the 13 short years she's taught and coached.
Coach cookie’s philosophy is simple.
“If the kid has the heart most of the time it starts with the heart, heart of art volleyball whatever it is," says Mitchell. "If they have that desire or work ethic, I can teach them volleyball and so no student should be precluded from going to college because of finances.”
Her Instagram page is full of success stories.
Player after player, dominating on courts at colleges across the country. Fifteen-year-old Naomi Jones hopes to be one of them.
“I think its really cool that she sends a bunch of people to college with scholarships and that's so cool to me and i think if that could be me one day," says Jones.
Mitchell has also sent kids to college on art scholarships. She has a knack for recognizing talent and helping kids do what it takes to make sure they get noticed.
"They know," says Mitchell. "You want to go to college? You want to get a scholarship? You go to Coach Mitchell to help you."