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Making history more accessible to all earns Hooksett teen the Girl Scout Gold Award

Gold Award - Mackenzie Conner

Mackenzie Conner earns Girl Scouting’s highest honor for virtual tour of Head Cemetery

HOOKSETT, NH – Dusty books, fragile old newspapers, and human memories have a way of fading into obscurity or simply being lost forever. Keeping the history of Hooksett alive and accessible was the goal Mackenzie Conner had in mind with her Head Cemetery Virtual Tour. She has earned Girl Scouting’s highest award, the Girl Scout Gold Award, for her work.

Conner, 18, of Hooksett has been involved in Girl Scouting from first grade through 12th, most recently in Troop 10085. The Gold Award is earned by girls in grades 9-12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership in developing sustainable solutions to local, national, and global challenges. The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest possible honor for a Girl Scout Senior or Ambassador, and is the mark of the truly remarkable.

Despite living in Hooksett her entire life, Conner said she realized she knew very little about her home town’s history. Now, with her Head Cemetery Virtual Tour, anyone with an interest in this part of the town just outside the city of Manchester can learn about Henry and Martha Carbee, who once ran Pinnacle Park, which included a zoo, dance pavilion, and hotel. Or George Robie – the founder of Robie’s general store, still operating today under the conservatorship of the Robie’s Country Store Preservation Corporation as a living museum and restaurant. Also included are the stories of tavern owner Samuel Head, Governor Nathaniel Head, the notable Otterson family, and selectman and businessman Jesse Gault.  

One can take tour by going to the Head Cemetery on Pleasant Street in Hooksett, just off Route 3/28. Conner installed signs with QR codes along the grounds which allow visitors to scan with a smart device. Once scanned, the code will bring up page on the website with the pertinent information. Those who would rather just tour from the comfort of home can do so by visiting

Along with creating the website that the QR codes bring up on one’s smartphone, Conner also arranged for many of the monuments she highlighted to be professionally cleaned. Thanks to a generous donation of the QR code signs by Frank’s Signs, she had enough money left to pay for the cleaning by Rock of Ages. Compared with the blackened and often lichen-covered stones nearby, these monuments look as if they were just installed.

“Anyone can benefit from this project,” Conner said, “but it will directly benefit the town of Hooksett's citizens. I think families will enjoy learning about the history of the town as well long-time citizens of Hooksett.”

Kathie Northrup of the Hooksett Heritage Commission worked with the Girl Scout on her project, and hopes others will take up the cause and do a similar tour of other cemeteries in town. Northrup also runs a historical program at the one-room schoolhouse located on the grounds there, where history buffs re-enact life in the past.

“She got compliments from the schoolmarms,” Northrup said. “They used her tour, and five or six of the people are ones they talk about in that class.” Northrup said Conner was always polite and receptive to her suggestions for the project, and wants Conner to receive recognition for her work.

The project resulted in a new sense of confidence for Conner. “Before I started this project I hated having to call new people on the phone,” she wrote in her project paper. “I tolerated going up to new people to ask them a question and I only called a few close family members on the phone. Now I have gotten used to calling people on the phone. Although this a small task it makes a difference in daily life. My general leadership skills have also grown. By the time the end of the project came around, I was constantly asking people to come to help me. I'd have an exact plan of what I needed them to do.”

Conner has begun her freshman year at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, studying engineering. She is a true G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ who is prepared for success through the Girl Scout Leadership experience.

Gold Award Girl Scouts don’t just change the world for the better, they change it for good. They earn college scholarships, demonstrate high educational and career outcomes, and are active in their communities. Mackenzie Conner has answered the call to drive lasting, impactful change, and her Gold Award is a testament to her remarkable dedication to improving her community and the world.

About the Girl Scout Gold Award

  • Gold Award Girl Scouts on average spend one to two years on their project.
  • A Gold Award project must be sustainable after the girl’s involvement ends.
  • The average age of Gold Award Girl Scouts is 17.
  • Since 1916, more than 1 million girls have earned the Gold Award or its equivalent.
  • Gold Award Girl Scouts who join the armed forces enter one rank higher than other recruits.
  • University research indicates that noting you are a Gold Award Girl Scout on a college application is influential in the admissions decision-making process.
  • 11 young women have earned their Gold Award in the 2018-19 membership year in New Hampshire and Vermont as part of Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains.
  • The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable!

About Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains: Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is recognized throughout New Hampshire and Vermont as a leading expert on girls. Our Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a one-of-a-kind leadership development program for girls, with proven results. It is based on time-tested methods and research-backed programming that helps girls take the lead—in their own lives and in the world. Through our exciting and challenging programs, Girl Scouts not only participate but also take the lead in a range of activities—from kayaking, archery, and camping, to coding, robotics, financial literacy training, and beyond! Serving more than 10,000 girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Visit