Friday, May 18, 2012

Overcoming Dyslexia for the Gold

California's Sierra Star reports that Yosemite High School senior MacKenzie Mitchell-Pluhar, has been involved with the Girl Scouts since she joined her Daisy Troop in kindergarten. All her dedication to Scouting paid off recently when she earned the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award. MacKenzie was one of eight Girl Scouts from the five county Girl Scouts of Central California South Council receiving the Gold Award.

The award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouts, carries a special sense of accomplishment to the determined 18-year-old. She was diagnosed the same year she joined the Daisy Troop with Dyslexia, a neurological learning condition that makes it extremely difficult in recognizing and understanding written language leading to spelling and writing challenges. She was also legally blind at birth, a condition improved with eye glasses.

"MacKenzie has had some tough and frustrating times in her life, but she has never given up," said her mother Colleen. "There were a lot of tears of joy during the ceremony last Saturday."

Mitchell-Pluhar organized an event titled "On My Way, On My Own," providing valuable information to YES seniors who will be leaving home to attend college or those staying in the community but living on their own after graduation.

Information booths featured California Highway Patrol officer Edward Green, YES consumer math teacher Rusty Oetinger and girl scout leader Sandra Idealize.

Officer Green provided safety information including self defense techniques and how to use pepper spray while Oetinger gave students information on the importance of keeping a budget, saving money and how to find inexpensive health insurance.

Idealize provided healthy living tips including nutritional facts of different foods.

"Mars Idealize demonstrated how easy it is to cook a nutritious vegetable and chicken stir-fry meal instead of a Cup of Noodles that has lots of sodium and no vitamins," Mitchell-Pluhar said. "She said 10% of students on college campuses contract scurvy due to bad diets."

She was presented a gold medal, a green jacket with "Gold Society 2012" monochromat on it and a gold necklace engraved with "Live by the Girl Scout Promise and Law."