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Inspiring Girl: Mackenzie Johnson

Introducing our new Head Girl

When Mackenzie Johnson came to Elmwood in Grade 6, she never would have imagined that she would begin her Grade 12 year as Elmwood’s Head Girl. Shyness was a significant obstacle for her before she came to Elmwood and applying for a prefect position was not something that would have been on her to-do list back then. After spending the past six years at Elmwood, that shyness has become a thing of the past. Her family is so proud that she is headed into her final year at Elmwood as Head Girl. She is thinking about the big footsteps she is following in, but is also ready to make her mark on this position of leadership within the school.

Mackenzie was inspired to run for the position of Head Girl by the girls that held the position for the past two years - Bronte Assadzadeh ‘18 and Grace Goldberg ‘19. She found their tenures as Head Girl made such a difference in the school. The inaugural Lead Like a Girl conference for Middle School girls is one piece of that leadership and ambition that came to fruition last year. Mackenzie got to take on the position of Co-Logistics Lead for the conference, as well as having a seat at the table as part of the Advisory Team that helped establish the core foundation of the conference. She particularly enjoyed working alongside her Senior School peers to coordinate the logistics of the conference such as the food, seating charts and transportation - because it really is the details that pull it all together.

When asked what she would like to accomplish during her time as Head Girl, Mackenzie was ready with a unique answer. “There’s a culture of kindness that has been incorporated recently and it’s become more evident in the school. I really want to help pro- mote that culture - I really want to make a difference here.” She also wants to make sure that the younger girls in the Junior and Middle School, girls like herself, see that the position of Head Girl is one that is open and available to any of them. “I could never have seen myself becoming Head Girl when I started at Elmwood. I want girls in younger grades to think of the position of Head Girl as a real possibility and to create an environment where they would feel comfortable trying anything they want to do.”

Creating a welcoming, supportive and inclusive environment are priorities at the top of Mackenzie’s list for her time as Head Girl this year. She knows she will not be able to do it alone and she is looking forward to working with the prefects as a team that supports and looks out for each other. She wants the perfect team to have the chance to shine when they are running their specific events like Keller Dog Day, CIBC Run for the Cure and Wilson Fiesta -- and she will always make sure she is there to help them along the way.

Taking on the role of Head Girl this year has meant that Mackenzie has had to put a pause on training and competing in rhythmic gymnastics, a sport she has been involved with since she was 10 years old. She knew that heading into Grade 12 would be a busy time, and with a prefect position as well as university applications to complete, there would never be enough time to give the sport the attention it requires. She feels that she accomplished what she set out to do in the sport and keeps her ties to the rhythmic gymnastics community by coaching recreational summer camps for youth as well as a few evenings a week throughout the school year.

There is no doubt that this year will be a busy one for Mackenzie, but she is as ready as ever to take on the challenge. With goals of promoting kindness and increasing awareness around making Elmwood prefect events more eco-friendly, she’s already off to a great start. Who knows what the rest of the year will bring?