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From trial to triumph

Carmen Cookson Hills

Submitted by
Jasmine Nelson

This story appeared in the Summer 2014 RDC Foundation e-newsletter.

It happened when she was eight-years-old; it made her upset, but she couldn’t do anything about it.  Now, as a graduate of the first class of the Bachelor of Business Administration program (2014), Mackenzie Jordan has her eyes set on law school.

“My mom passed away when I was seven-years- old from breast cancer. Around when I turned eight, her adopted family actually sued my dad for part of the life insurance,” shares Mackenzie, “Being so young, I couldn’t do anything, but I was frustrated and wanted to help so bad. I felt so powerless. It was frustrating seeing people take something from somebody who’s trying to raise two kids on his own now. That’s what inspired me, I didn’t want to feel like I couldn’t make a difference anymore, I wanted to help people who really deserve it. So, that experience actually made me want to become a lawyer.”

Like many students, it takes trying some different classes to help you hone in on what you love, and what you’re good at. For Mackenzie, she fell in love with economics, statistics, math and law.  Her initial intentions were to do the Business Admin diploma program, and then move to Mount Royal University to complete her degree. But, after the partnership with Mount Royal and RDC was formed, Mackenzie decided it would be cheaper and more convenient to complete her final years at RDC.

Mackenzie, like any student, dealt with applying for scholarships and working two jobs to stay afloat and out of debt. But she was dealt an extra blow when she lost her father in her first year at RDC, at the age of 19.

“Honestly, school helped me get through it. It helped me keep busy and focused. Education has been very important in my family. My Aunt has always said, “Education is an investment in your life!’”

One scholarship she received was for business students who’ve been affected by cancer, and it was through meeting the donor that Mackenzie was able to see, again, that cancer impacts everybody.  Her hard work paid off, and Mackenzie graduated this spring with a 3.94 GPA.

“Part of the reason why donors are so important to me is that they’ve allowed me to go to school. I’ve worked two jobs while going to school, and if it wasn’t for the scholarships, I’d have been working two jobs to barely break even and still have debt. It’s helped me tremendously.”

Mackenzie plans to work and save up this next year, and then do three more years to get her law degree. Her interests are in corporate law, and to “avoid court as much as possible!”

With a heart set to make her parents proud, Mackenzie is clearly a hard worker with a grateful graduate.

“(Education) was so important to my parents that this is my way of doing something for them too.


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