Mia Mackenzie, winner of ESA's national youth scholarship


Mackenzie McDonald, Winner of ESA's Youth Scholarship Program.

Mackenzie McDonald is the first-place winner of the Electronic Security Association’s (ESA) Youth Scholarship Program, receiving a $10,000 scholarship for her outstanding essay and academic achievements at McDowell High School in Erie, Pa.

Vivint sponsored the 2014 program for the second consecutive year with a $10,000 donation that has allowed ESA to award $20,000 in scholarships to children of first responders. ESA and participating state chapters have proudly awarded more than $457,000 in scholarships to youth around the nation since 1996.

"The police officers and firefighters that protect and serve our communities are true heroes," said ESA President John Knox. "These men and women put their lives on the line every day, and they can never be appreciated enough. Awarding this first-place scholarship to a fine student like Mackenzie McDonald is one of the ways we can thank our deserving public safety partners."

To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be between 15 and 20 years old, a graduating high school senior and have been accepted for admission to an accredited college or university. Each eligible student must have a father, mother or natural guardian who is an active duty, full-time police officer, firefighter or volunteer firefighter. As a part of the application, students are required to write an essay entitled, “What it means to me to have my parent or guardian involved in securing our community.”

Before being considered for the national award, Mackenzie applied to and won the top prize from the Pennsylvania Burglar and Fire Alarm Association Youth Scholarship Program. She then competed with each of the 19 participating chapter winners and ESA’s national nominee for the national award.

Robert McDonald, Mackenzie’s father, is a police officer for the City of Erie. His dedication and passion for helping his community has been a major influence in Mackenzie’s life.

“My father is the best role model that anyone could ask for,” said Mackenzie. “As a result of my father’s dedication to public safety and strong moral values, I am the strong, conscientious woman that I am today.”

Throughout her time as a student at McDowell High School, Mackenzie participated in several extracurricular activities and organizations such as the Model United Nations, National Honor Society and Exposure Club as well as mock trial and peer tutoring programs. Additionally, she has trained extensively in various types of dance and now serves as an instructor for ballet and jazz at Marguerite’s Academy of Dance. Mackenzie strives to improve her community and often volunteers at her church, the Diabetes Resource Center and local homeless shelters.  

Mackenzie will soon graduate McDowell High School with a 4.0 GPA and has been accepted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She hopes to pursue a degree in the medical field so that she may serve the public, help the sick and comfort individuals in times of need.   

For information visit www.ESAweb.org.