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17-Year-Old Helpful Hero

High school junior wins Anne Arundel County’s William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award

       Mackenzie Boughey stands out in a crowd. 

         That’s how I first saw her: Leading her peers and thousands of demonstrators at the Annapolis March For Our Lives rally as I reported my first story for Bay Weekly in 2018.

         This is why I want to be a reporter, I thought, to see influencers like Boughey fire up their community and make real changes.

         I’m not the only one to find the Severn School junior exceptional.

         Comptroller Peter Franchot noticed, too.

         He awarded Boughey Anne Arundel County’s 2019 William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award.

         “To me, America is its finest when we all give back to our community and try to make it better for the future,” Franchot said. “That’s something that Mackenzie absolutely embodies. She’s a great example to us all.”

         Last March, Boughey and several of her peers organized thousands of protestors to rally against gun violence. The protest was one of the largest in the history of Annapolis.

         Her efforts to end the violence didn’t stop with that march. After the shooting at the Annapolis Capital offices last June, she led the vigil march from the State House to City Dock, playing her bagpipes all the way.

         Her efforts continue. Boughey — recently appointed the co-director for the Maryland branch of March For Our Lives — sees this award as a triumph for the cause.

         “It feels crazy to win because it was almost a year ago that we started this,” Boughey said. “We’ve worked hard for gun safety in our community, so to be recognized by an elected official is really amazing.”

         The Comptroller’s Office receives thousands of nominees for this award in each Maryland county. Mackenzie’s name quickly ascended to the top for Anne Arundel.

         “We collect nominations from the community, but we also identify people throughout our travels,” said Alan Brody of the Comptrollers Office. “Mackenzie’s age and willingness to tackle this problem elevated her profile.”