O’Hara’s Mackenzie Borkovich has channeled her experiences living with a life-threatening nut allergy into a school-wide educational project.
Borkovich, who graduated from Fox Chapel Area High School in 2022, was named a Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement a Girl Scout can achieve.
She received her official notification letter from the Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania on September 9, 2022.
Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania serves 27 counties, including Allegheny County.
Borkovich’s Gold Award project focused on allergy education and awareness.
She has managed a severe allergy to nuts, cashews and pistachios since childhood.
“I’ve noticed over the years that my peers and even the staff and faculty members of the Fox Chapel school district don’t have a lot of relevant knowledge (about food allergies),” Borkovich said.
She created an allergy safety advice campaign that explains what to do if someone has a severe allergic reaction, including how to inject medication with an EpiPen and administer the prescription drug AUVI-Q.
“I decided to produce informative yet entertaining videos to convey important messages about allergies,” Borkovich said.
Borkovich’s sister Madison and her friends Grace Rygelski and Bobby Chacko served as student talent for the videos.
Borkovich spent over 80 hours working on the project.
“To think that his project could save someone from an anaphylactic allergic reaction is incredible,” said Jackie Borkovich, Mackenzie’s mother. “As a nurse, I know the importance of educating our students and our community about the hidden dangers of allergies.”
Jamie Glogowski, a Fox Chapel Area High School nurse, said the video should be shown at the high school soon.
Students will have to watch the videos and answer the questions created on each segment, Borkovich said.
Courtesy of Mackenzie Borkovitch
In this 2022 screenshot, Fox Chapel Area High School students Grace Rygelski and Bobby Chacko act out a scene from a food allergy information and safety video produced by the Fox Chapel Area High School graduate , Mackenzie Borkovich. The videos were part of Borkovich’s Girl Scout Gold Award project.
In the video, the signs and symptoms of a serious allergic reaction are described, along with information on the appropriate measures to take in this type of emergency.
“We hope that students will be better informed about the signs and symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction. We also hope the video will help them become familiar with administering an EpiPen,” Glogowski said. “The knowledge students will gain from this video will benefit not only our school community, but the community as a whole, as students are better prepared to deal with this type of emergency, no matter where they are.” »
The district plans to screen Borkovich’s safety video for students annually.
“Girl Scouts taught me the importance of helping others, doing the right thing, and being part of something bigger than me,” Borkovich said.
Borkovich is a freshman at Slippery Rock University majoring in Exercise Science/Pre-Physical Therapy.
She is also a pitcher on the Slippery Rock Division II softball team.