A star on the field hockey and soccer fields, leader of several community service organizations, and academic machine, junior McKenzie Powell is extraordinary and it would be an injustice to call her anything less. Watch out for this well versed student as her sharp brain and skills are sure to take down anyone who gets in her way.
Stepping onto the field hockey field for the first time the summer before ninth grade, Powell quickly developed a love for both the sport and the community it fosters. Making Varsity her sophomore year, she found passion in the defensive elements of the game on the LGHS team. Powell credits her success on the field to hard work and determination, saying, “I was chosen to be a starter so I start every game, and I play most of it and I just try to do what I can for the team to get up some points so that everyone has a chance to play.” Not only is Powell a talented player, but is credited as an incredible teammate. Teammates conveyed that regardless of the situation, one can always find Powell joking around with other players to help create a positive atmosphere on the field.
Powell not only demonstrates great accomplishment in sports, also in academics. This year, her schedule includes two honors classes and three APs. Powell cites Physics—many people’s worst nightmare— as her most interesting class, explaining, “I love physics this year and so I am looking at majors and colleges with more of a STEM focus.” She is certainly a woman in STEM in the making. Though physics is her passion, Spanish also has a special place in her heart. Powell is currently improving her Spanish in Señora Mazzaferro’s Spanish 4 honors class. She added, “I was exposed to [the language] when I was younger… From the day that I was born, I had a nanny who spoke Spanish with us.”
This past summer, her Spanish endeavors led the young philanthropist to summer in Costa Rica. There, Powell participated in a three-week community-service-based program called Amigos. Perhaps her favorite part of the program, the athlete noted, was when her group visited local families’ houses. “The children that we got to help were the most inspiring,” Powell said. Over the course of the three weeks, her group assisted three different communities while learning about local farming and citizens’ daily lives. After reflecting on her experience, she asserted, “Amigos taught me a lot about different communities… it showed me that, throughout all the varied communities you can always find something that relates you through them.”
In addition to her trip, Powell has been making her mark on the community through National Charity League (NCL) ever since elementary school, and was recently appointed president of the Los Gatos chapter. Powell explained that as president she’s in charge of running meetings. She further stated, “It’s like getting everyone together and creating the bond between our class to then further in helping and creating bonds with the people in the community that we’re helping.”
One might think that juggling two competitive sports and a challenging course load would leave little to no time for other extracurricular activities, but Powell credits her ability to manage various APs, sports, and philanthropy to organization. She noted that “It’s definitely a lot. I try to stay pretty organized. So I like to go from school to practice and then I’ll go home, spend time with my family and then get right on my homework so that I can stay on top of it.” Whether it’s on the field hockey field or in STEM, Powell is an inspiration to everyone around her.