EDWARDSVILLE - Mackenzie Ann Allen was an Edwardsville High School student who had a light within her that will be remembered for many years to come through her classmates and color guard team members. She died on January 6, 2022, because of epilepsy complications. Mackenzie’s funeral was on Monday.
Mackenzie was a key member of the fall and winter color guard teams, plus the EHS Sign Language Club and National Honor Society. Recently, she was honored with the Edwardsville Rotary Club Student of the Month recognition.
Edwardsville Principal Steve Stuart has known Mackenzie since she was in school at Lincoln in the city. He was principal at Lincoln during those years.
“Any time something like this happens, it causes the school to take a step back and it is a real shock,” he said. “We have put things in place to support both students and staff. It affects the adults as much as the students. She had such a bright future ahead.
"Mackenzie had said she wanted to major in elementary education and be a teacher when she finished school. It is a terrible loss for not only the Edwardsville community but the world.”
Leah Cummins has been one who has helped build the winter and fall color guard teams at Edwardsville into a powerhouse. She says Mackenzie was a key member of that growth and had been a part of the team since her freshman year.
“Her parents shared with me over and over this past week how much Mackenzie loved color guard,” Leah said. “I know a lot of her closest friends were on the team and they had a bond competing for four years that was unbreakable.”
Leah said it was so inspirational to see how her friends and members of the color guard were with Mackenzie’s family at the funeral, reaching to her family.
“Mackenzie was one of our most passionate and dedicated team members,” Leah said. “She came to each rehearsal with a huge smile and a positive attitude. She went through the difficult challenges in practices and always supported her teammates and lent a helping hand.”
Edwardsville English teacher Dave Lipe said Mackenzie was one of a kind.
“I had the pleasure of having her in class last year for American Lit,” he said. “She was without exception strong, smart, enthusiastic about learning, and sweet. She also had my wife, Stacey Lynn Lipe, years ago, who amongst others, inspired her to want to become a teacher.
"I’m sad obviously, but I know her friends and family are suffering at a much deeper level, and for them, I am most sorry. Kids in my current classes are wearing purple for their Zoom call tomorrow in tribute. She’s not the first young person I’ve lost during my teaching career, but one never forgets or gets used to such losses.”
Leah said the EHS color guard team will dedicate the rest of the season to Mackenzie and work purple into its wear. Purple is the international color representing epilepsy awareness.
“We know deep in our hearts how much Mackenzie loved color guard and we want to push forward her legacy and truly remember the impact she had on this program,” Leah said.
“Mackenzie will always be remembered for her positivity and what she meant to her teammates. She was everybody’s friend.”