Tomorrow’s leaders: Mackenzie Westfall

Published 2:30 pm Monday, March 1, 2010

A conversation with Mackenzie Westfall, a senior at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, inspires a quick appreciation of the passion for the career she wants to pursue and for the enthusiasm she has for getting the process started.

“I am really looking forward to college and getting started,” Westfall said recently. “I still have to decide on which college I want to attend, but I know what I want to do.”

Westfall wants to pursue a career in education psychology, helping families whose children have been diagnosed with learning and developmental disabilities.

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“I know someone who is in that profession already and have learned a lot about it,” she said. “It is something that I feel called to and something I really want to do.”

As a multi-sport athlete at NSA, earning all-state honors in volleyball as well as participating on the team’s lacrosse team, Westfall now is set to take on soccer this spring.

But she also enjoys riding and showing horses.

“I enjoy showing during the summer. I don’t really go to the big shows, but I do enjoy it and have a lot of fun with it,” she said.

As for college, Westfall has a choice to make about where her next education stop will be.

“I know I need to decide by May 1, but I have a tough choice,” Westfall said, saying her choices have been Washington College, Union College in New York and Franklin & Marshall in Pennsylvania.

She said at college she said she hopes to be able to continue her volleyball career, but she has said that is not the deciding factor.

“I’m excited,” she said of college. “I can’t wait to get started.”

Mackenzie is the daughter of Debbie Zirpolo and the stepdaughter of Mike Zirpolo.

Mackenzie has an older sister, Alex Westfall, who is a sophomore at Tulane, and an older stepbrother, Craig Zirpolo, who is a sophomore at Virginia. She also has a younger brother, Thomas Westfall, who is a sophomore at NSA, and a stepbrother, Joe Zirpolo, who is a fellow senior at NSA.