With the presentation of her Girl Scout Gold Award certificate on June 20 at the Capitol in Salem, MacKenzie Miller, 18, has entered a realm that few of her peers achieve.

by: PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - MacKenzie Miller holds the portfolio she put together to earn her Girl Scout Gold Award.In fact, only 5 to 6 percent of Scouts earn their highest award, noted Shannon Shea, a local Girl Scout administrator.

“MacKenzie is a hard-working, determined young woman and a joy to work with,” Shea said, adding that Miller will receive letters from President Obama and other dignitaries congratulating her on her achievement.

Miller planned and hosted a domestic violence talk at the high school in April and also held a weeklong donation drive to collect food and personal hygiene items for the West Women’s Shelter in Portland.

Miller, a recent graduate of Oregon City High School, is a member of OC-based Girl Scout Troop 41178. The award is analogous to the Eagle Scout award for Boy Scouts, in that Miller had to come up with and complete a major project that benefited the community.

“I had to put together an 80-hour leadership project that required me to recruit a team of people to lead,” she said.

The Scout project worked for her senior project at OCHS as well. She supervised a group of friends and family members to design a pamphlet and help collect donations the night of the high school event.

Most rewarding was “having the opportunity to help others,” Miller said, adding that without the project she would not have known about the shelter.

Miller has been a Girl Scout since kindergarten. “I am excited that I finally did it after 13 years. I made it as far as you can go as a Girl Scout,” she said.

Miller attended schools in Gladstone, where her family lives, until transferring to OCHS for her senior year to take biology, psychology and third-year Spanish to earn an honors diploma. She plans to attend Portland State University in the fall, majoring in biology and psychology, with the idea of going on to medical school to become a psychiatrist.

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