Anitra Wilson enjoys making a difference in the lives of children, but her journey was not easy.
Wilson is currently a first-grade teacher at Cardinal Charter Academy in Cary. Sometimes, she works with children who have special needs.
The Clinton resident is the first in her immediate family to attend college. Wilson earned a earned an associates from Fayetteville Technical Community College, a bachelor’s in history from Fayetteville State University and masters in early childhood education from the University of Phoenix.
In a single-parent home, she grew up as the oldest of four siblings in the Tyndall Court and Fox Glen Court area of the town, in additions to other areas of Sampson County.
“It was a struggle for me and I always had to work my way through things I had to do,” Wilson said.
Prior to becoming a teacher, she worked at a grocery store — one of several jobs she had to juggle.As a single parent, she was also a full-time student and sometimes, people assisted with babysitting her daughter.
“I had a few family friends who would help babysit, but for the most part my daughter had to go with me to work or to class,” she said. “I felt like it was my responsibility to make sure she was taking care of. That was a big struggle.”
Later in life, she faced another hurdle when she became a widow at the age of 29. She remarried in 2006 and continued her career pursuits in education.
“Even with all the struggles I had, trying to get to where I need to be, I never gave up,” Wilson said.
In the eighth grade, she left Sampson Middle School and attended Union High School. Wilson later graduated from Lakewood High School.
Wilson wants to encourage others to persevere and impact the lives of other people. It’s something she continues to do in her classroom.
“I want to let people to know that you don’t have to quit,” she said. “It’s never to late to go to school get training for the desires that you have. You just have to put one foot in front of the other.”
Dr. Ruby Bell, a fifth-grade teacher, was an inspiration for her during her journey.
“She showed me that anything possible,” Bell said about seeing a big picture of success.
Currently, she’s in the process of pursuing another master’s in autism. One of her primary focuses is working with children who have special needs. Some of her family members and friends have autism.
“I’ve always had some type of communication with children who were artistic or had some type of special need,” Wilson said.
When Wilson is not teaching students, she enjoys helping out with community projects through Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the Order of the Eastern Star.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.