Bedford college student wins scholarship

Mackenzie Robert, of Bedford, will receive a $5,000 scholarship to continue her education for sharing online how she enjoys exercising her First Amendment rights during a national celebration of the First Amendment on Bill of Rights Day 2011.

Currently a student at Belmont University, Robert’s entry was judged among the best from a cascade of more than 17,000 tweets and messages sent on Dec. 15, 2011, the 220th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights, as part of “Free to Tweet.”

Thousands of Americans participated in the public awareness campaign – organized by 1 for All with funding provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation – recognizing First Amendment freedoms and putting a largely overlooked holiday back in the public eye.

In her original video, Robert said that America is no melting pot because the First Amendment allows individuals to stay true to themselves. To her, a more accurate comparison is a salad. Every piece is appreciated on its own and comes together to makes something better.

“The ‘Free to Tweet’ competition saw students nationwide reaffirming the value of the First Amendment and expressing themselves creatively through social media,” said Ken Paulson, founder of 1 for All and president of the First Amendment Center and American Society of News Editors. “We’re pleased to recognize Mackenzie Robert for her thought-provoking entry in an extraordinarily competitive field.”

Robert’s message, along with those of other winners, can be seen at