A senior at Delaware Hayes High School was recently given a Student of Integrity award by the Better Business Bureau.
Mackenzie Collett, who serves on the Delaware City Schools Board of Education as its student member, said she learned she was selected to be the school district’s nominee last year.
“When I found out I had been nominated for the award I felt incredibly humbled and honored,”Collett said. “I honestly thought that maybe they had made a mistake as I don’t feel as if I have taken any extraordinary actions, I have just acted upon the sense of community that the district has instilled in me all these years. The reality is that so many of the students within DCS embody the qualities of a student of integrity, so I took great pride in being nominated.”
College and Career Counselor Jennifer Pollard said she nominated Collett for the award, which she noted is meant to go to a student who personifies “high character through leadership, community service, overall personal integrity and academic accomplishments.”
“Mac was immediately the student who stuck out for all of us,” Pollard said. “She is the top student in her class, has a multitude of leadership experiences, continually gives back to our community and school, and has the utmost respect from her peers and our staff for how she listens and cares for others.”
Pollard said Collett is an outstanding student who currently maintains a 4.543 grade point average and is ranked first in her graduating class of 378 students.
In her letter of recommendation for Collett, Pollard said she admires Collett for the work she does in the Multiple Disabilities and Transition classrooms as a peer mentor.
“Mackenzie volunteers in these classrooms during the school year, but her bond with these students goes beyond the classroom,” Pollard said. “They truly are friends and do typical teenager things together like getting ice cream in town, going to school dances and sporting events, or taking selfies with each other. It is a special relationship to witness. Mackenzie’s relationship with these students has helped her become a voice for them, too.”
Pollard added Collett has also done a good job this year as the student member of the Delaware City Schools Board of Education.
“This year she is also using her voice as our student board of education member, and I know she will continue in that role to advocate for all students, but particularly those with learning differences,” Pollard said.
Collett said she had to write an essay for the competition and chose to talk about mentorship and the impact it has had on her life.
“I wrote of how it is because of individuals like my Orton-Gillingham tutor, Peg Hollenback, and teachers like Ms. Emily Martin and Mrs. Jenifer McCoy that a neuroatypical student like myself has been able to become a mentor to my fellow neuroatypical students on how to become more independent, and to my neurotypical students on how they can best support their peers,” Collett said. “When I later found out I won the award, I was at a loss for words.
“So, in winning the award I felt a great sense of thankfulness and gratitude to not only the BBB, but those who took their time to mentor me, so that I, myself, could become an advocate and make an impact. I also felt so much gratitude towards Madame Kim Young, who wrote my letter of recommendation to the BBB. The award to me is more than just the scholarship funds, it is the acknowledgment that it is the small, everyday acts that can make the largest impact,” she added.
Collett said she plans to study constitutional law and hopes to one day become an appellate judge.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.