Students Breigh Rogerson and Hayden Charlton present Melissa MacKinnon, a teacher and vice-principal at Mount Stewart Consolidated with the Extra Mile award. Joining them are Public Schools Branch acting director Norbert Carpenter, left, and Home and School Federation president Heather Mullen, on the right.

Rachel Collier photo

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More than 150 elementary students waited in secretive silence in the gym at Mount Stewart Consolidated School last Wednesday. Attentive excitement permeated the air and you could have literally heard a mask drop (none did) until teacher and vice principal Melissa MacKinnon walked through the double doors.

Students erupted in cheers, claps and united chants: “MacKinnon! MacKinnon! MacKinnon! We love you! We love you! We love you!”

The students were proud to surprise Ms MacKinnon with an assembly that included the presentation of the Home and School Federation’s Extra Mile award.

Heather Mullen, federation president and a parent of a Mount Stewart student, presented the award.

“This school staff person is so easy to talk to and has built such a great rapport with the students and parents.” Ms Mullen said. “She goes above and beyond for them and the school community as a whole and exemplifies what this award is all about. We’ve been told there isn’t a more deserving person.”

A tear or two was shed when Ms Mullen read a quote from one of Ms MacKinnon’s students:

“She has helped me change my life and show me the world is not so bad, there are opportunities that are waiting for me. She has motivated me to be the best student I could be. She told me I believe in you and she told me the sky’s the limit. She changed my life.”

Other staff, students and parents joined in recognizing how Ms MacKinnon goes the extra mile to support the school community.

Ms MacKinnon is the kind of administrator who works tirelessly accomplishing a pile of tasks like scheduling and maintaining the school website with an outstanding positive attitude.”

Ms MacKinnon was also recognized for organizing a variety of school events and morale-boosting activities such as the school’s Eagle Eyes student awards. These celebrate students who demonstrate attributes like honesty or kindness.

Ms MacKinnon goes out of her way to regularly check in on teachers to help them support every student with the aim of ensuring they all have the most positive elementary school experience possible.

Ms MacKinnon also volunteers at fundraisers and manages and supports a variety of extra-curricular school activities.

“To say she is phenomenal at her job is an understatement. Ms MacKinnon understands, cares for and advocates for her students,” a parent of a Mount Stewart student said. “She motivates her students to be better, not just academically, but to be better people. She shares in their joys and achievements and she’s there to comfort them on their not-so-great days.”

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