Editor's Note: The following is from a press release from the Norfolk District Attorney's office.
District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey presented Norwood High School junior Mackenzie Sheehan one of 23 Peer Leadership Recognition awards given county-wide for 2012.
“The strength and health of school communities derives largely from the students who lead by example,” District Attorney Morrissey said after presenting the award at his 2012 Peer Leadership Conference, held in Norwood recently. “Good teachers and thoughtful administrators are important, but it is students like Mackenzie doing the work.”
Sheehan was nominated by three members of the NHS faculty, Ann Keegan, Jan Cohn and Julie Lozinski. While mentioning her other contributions to the school, the nomination letter focused on how Sheehan conceived and executed “Norwood Lights up the Night: A Walk for Mental Health Awareness,” to foster discussion and acceptance in the school.
“I have never had a student take initiative like Mackenzie did. Mackenzie planned this event: She organized meetings, recruited the guest speaker, motivated her peers to join in, did the in-house PR, designed the t-shirt and successfully secured funding from the NHS PTA,” her teachers wrote. “Her work ethic and passion are admirable.”
The award presentations were made midway through the five-hour Peer Leadership Conference, which supplied workshops and presentations on bullying prevention, dating violence, drug and alcohol use, mentoring and other subjects to more than 150 students hand-chosen to attend from across the county.
“We worked to put together a program that might supply tools to the students who are shaping the attitudes and cultures within our schools,” Morrissey said.
The conference was financed with money seized in drug raids and forfeited during subsequent court proceedings.
“We are using money earned through bad decisions and dangerous activities to promote good decisions and safety in our schools,” Morrissey said.