Jesse MacKinnon is a top scholar who is on track to graduate with an associate’s degree in June from Tacoma Community College through the Running Start program. While at TCC, she has maintained top grades and is on the honor roll.
She said maintaining a perfect GPA takes a lot of focus and prioritizing, but she has not focused only on scholastic pursuits. “I try to devote time to academics but also to my friends and family,” she said.
Her well-balanced schedule has included sports, community service, volunteer work through her church as well as paid jobs. MacKinnon is also a talented artist who has received many awards for her creative projects.
“Jesse is a student teachers love having in class because of her hard work and drive to be her best. This high level of expectation for herself rubs off on classmates and she raises the level of rigor for all,” said Peninsula High Principal Tim Winter.
MacKinnon became interested in community service when she was young. She went on her first mission trip with her parents at age 8 and helped triage patients in Nairobi for two weeks and has since gone on other mission trips.
“It exposed me to conditions in other countries. In other parts of the world, the need is so much greater,” she said. “The mission trips made me develop an interest in community service. I wanted to help other people.”
She has devoted numerous hours to volunteer work and in high school was recognized with a varsity letter for community service. Among the organizations she’s contributed to are Tacoma Rescue Mission, SAVE Thrift Store and Salvation Army. She is involved extensively at her church in activities such as Vacation Bible School, Bible Quizzing and youth group leadership. She’s also a volunteer at St. Anthony Hospital, currently serving as a pharmacy assistant.
“I want to give back through service to others,” MacKinnon said.
MacKinnon was adopted from China and has a passion for the country, which she visited both on a mission trip and to meet her birth parents. She hopes to use her knowledge of the language and the culture in her future profession.
Inspired both by her father, who is a doctor, and by the medical mission trips, MacKinnon plans to go into the medical field. She has not decided on a specialty or school yet but her dream is to eventually work internationally.
Category: Academic Achievement
Education: Senior, Gig Harbor High School
Parents: Brad and Melodee MacKinnon
Activities/Achievements: National Honor Society, National Merit finalist, Tacoma Community College Running Start, Bible Quizzing team captain, volunteer at St. Anthony Hospital, Salvation Army, Tacoma Rescue Mission and others, Life Christian Artist of the Year, Tacoma Home & Garden Show art finalist, community service varsity letter, swim team
Favorite Teacher: Heide Steele. “Her passion for Chinese has inspired me to pursue my dreams of learning my native language.”
Best thing about high school: “I have been blessed to attend both Peninsula and Gig Harbor high schools and in each, my teachers and the school faculty have been incredible.”