2019 PFL Scholarship Winner: Mary Katherine Rodgers
Thank you to Mary Katherine Rodgers, 2019 PFL Scholarship winner, for providing this post!
I am so incredibly honored to be chosen as one of the recipients of the Lutzie 43 PFL Character Scholarship! Up until a few months ago, I had never heard of Philip Lutzenkirchen or the Lutzie 43 Foundation. However, after an assembly at my school, a simple speech from Mike Lutzenkirchen radically changed me for the better. At first, I didn’t think I would relate to anything he said. I already knew the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and on top of that, I wasn’t even an athlete like his son was. I’m about the furthest thing from an athlete: I’m a band geek AND a mathlete!
However, there was one thing I instantly noticed that I and everyone else in the room could relate to. That was the pain and desperation in Mike’s voice as he once again told a brand new crowd the story of how he lost his only son. While not all of us have lost a child, we have all experienced pain, heartbreak, and grief in some form or fashion. Most importantly, we all walk around each day carrying the weight of the broken world we live in with us. The loss of a child is a pain no one should ever have to experience, yet Mike and his family carry it every day with such grace and dignity. Mike continues to relive his grief every time he speaks at an assembly because he knows his story serves a greater purpose. If we ignore the tragedies in life, then nothing will ever get better. It is up to us to shed some hope and light into this world.
Every life is so incredibly precious, yet too many are taken due to entirely preventable circumstances. The leading cause of death in teenagers is distracted driving. That statistic is unacceptable to me. I have so much gratitude for Mike and the Lutzie 43 Foundation for opening my eyes and showing me the obligation I and all of my peers have to advocate for safe and distraction-free driving. Since learning of the Lutzie 43 Foundation’s 43 Key Seconds campaign, I have made a conscious effort to utilize 43 seconds whenever I get in a car to make sure I and anyone I’m riding with are distraction-free. Distracted driving is never worth it. It has already cost so many lives, and it is so easily preventable. It is up to us to remember those lives already taken and make sure that no more lives are taken again.
I am so humbled and honored to be given the responsibility of spreading the Lutzie 43 message and carrying the legacy of Philip Lutzenkirchen with me everywhere I go in life.
Watch Mary Katherine’s video here.
More about Mary Katherine: Mary Katherine is from Helena, Alabama. She is currently a student at Samford University and pursuing a BS in Music with a pre-med concentration. For as long as she can remember, she’s wanted to be a doctor and has always thrived in math and science. Mary Katherine is interested in pursuing the field of neuroscience, as well as disease research.