By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
Mackenzie Britt, Drum Major for George Walton Academy Band, at a recent competition at University of Tennessee, Chattanooga November 2, 2013.


Mackenzie Britt - Drum major dreams
By Beth Volpert

George Walton Academy Drum Major, Mackenzie Britt loves a good competition. Whether it is on the field directing the GWA Marching Bulldogs or in the classroom, Mackenzie wants to be the best she can be.

Setting a good example for her peers is high on her list of goals, along with becoming a UGA Marching Bulldog one day. “I would love to go to UGA,” says Mackenzie. “I have been to their drum major camp and I really want to become more involved in their program.” 

As a drum major, Mackenzie has to learn to march to the beat of the chosen music, but that doesn’t keep her from marching to her own beat when it comes to her personal plans. With a high profile leadership role comes a great deal of pressure, but it is her own outlook on life that gives her the insight and strength to fulfill the role with poise and grace. “I think that having the opportunity to attend GWA and grow up within a family business around many adults has given me a good perspective on how to lead and not let the power go to my head,” says Mackenzie. 

Academics will play a vital role in addition to her leadership responsibilities when it comes to applying for college and Mackenzie says that she is working on her schedule in order to devote more time to study. “I found out that even though I have traditionally had more of a math aptitude, writing is becoming easier and more interesting.” She credits her writing teacher, Jo Taylor, with encouraging her written expressions. “It seems like she can just tap it and it turns to gold,” says Mackenzie about her teacher. “I really admire that.” 

Jo Taylor thinks a great deal of her student. “Mackenzie is a delightful student who is infatuated with language,” says Jo.  “I see her as curious about how it all comes together to influence, to awe, to help us express our feelings.” Jo says that Mackenzie loves the musicality of it, the rhythms.  “She experiments to get the right sound, just like she does with the band!  Because she is daring, because she is coachable, because she has a desire to learn, her writing is some of the best in her class.” With endorsements like these, it is easy to see that Mackenzie will find a path to realizing her dreams.

Mackenzie has no trouble verbalizing her admiration for many people who have influenced her over the years. Her family comes first and she feels blessed that she has a family who supports her aspirations. “Anything I come up with, they are the first to encourage me to go for it,” says Mackenzie. “I am very fortunate to have so much love from my family.” Growing up around the family business at Summit Chase Country Club meant that life was a little different. There is no one who understands that better than Mackenzie’s younger brother, Grayson. “He is my best friend,” says Mackenzie. “We grew up in a family business, we attended the same school, we drive everywhere together and he is my DJ for travel music.” Mackenzie is quick to point out that even though she is often referred to as “Don and Georgiana Britt’s kid”, she is also very much her own person. “Life in the public eye prepared me to be a good leader and I think my brother and I have benefitted from that.” 

Having a soft heart for her little brother is just one of the nurturing roles that Mackenzie cherishes. Being one of the “Top 4” in band leadership at GWA has given Mackenzie the opportunity to learn from the other three who are seniors this year. “Next year, I will have to step up and teach three other people how to talk to students and train them to run the band,” says Mackenzie. “I try to look up at myself from the ground when I am directing and remember that I am actually a servant of the whole band.” That kind of perspective comes from having had good teachers and Mackenzie is grateful to her band directors, Christian Smith and Jason Sneath, for providing good guidance. “Both have impacted my life tremendously,” says Mackenzie. “I look up to them as great role models and can go to them with anything I might need.” 

The confidence and character that emanate from the young lady cannot be denied. There is little doubt that, once she sets her mind to it, there is nothing that she won’t accomplish. Surrounding herself with a loving family, a strong work ethic, like-minded peers and great instructors will ensure that this drum major will march herself into a very bright future.