IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - 40 students have been featured over this past school year as United Dairymen of Idaho Distinguished Students, but only one gets the student of the year award – Mackenzie O'Bleness of Idaho Falls High School.
I caught up with Mackenzie on her last day walking the halls of Idaho Falls High School as a student.
"It's quite nostalgic - knowing that I came here three years ago, and what a different person I was then and how much I've learned," Mackenzie said. "It reminds me of my past and also makes me really excited to move on to my future and college and career."
Mackenzie has had a passion for learning during her years at Idaho Falls High School. Her straight A's are a reflection of that.
"I've always really enjoyed learning new things, and I've always found it to be something important in my life, so throughout my career of this little education, this 12 years, it's been almost like a hobby of mine," MacKenzie said. "It's exciting for me, I enjoy it. It's not like, 'oh, I have to go learn this,' it's like, 'this is cool.'
Service has also been a big part of Mackenzie's high school experience. She's proud of her first project as key club president - repainting this rock in front of the school.
"Being an engaged community member is one of the most rewarding things I've ever done," Mackenzie says. "Service is particularly important to me. There's nothing quite like the enjoyment of going to an event, or going to a group of people and helping them accomplish something new, or just helping improve people's lives, and it's really a unique experience that you just can't get with any other type of activity."
Mackenzie will work as a YMCA camp counselor this summer. Then it's off to Montana State where she'll be majoring in Computer Science.