Meet Addie Garrott: 2021 PFL Scholarship Recipient
I am so grateful to be a recipient of this year’s Prepared for Life Character Scholarship awarded by the Lutzie 43 Foundation. As a recipient of this scholarship, I believe it is my duty to be a representative of what this scholarship stands for, which is Philip’s life and legacy. I am incredibly thankful that this foundation has given me the opportunity to further my education at Auburn University and be a source of light like Philip was.
I was not always familiar with Philip Lutzenkirchen or his story. Because of my school’s dedication to ensuring its students are aware of the dangers of distracted driving, I have had the opportunity of hearing many speakers share their experiences on this topic. However, my classmates and I have had the opportunity of hearing Philip’s father, Mike, speak on two separate occasions. Each of these times were two of the most impactful times in my life and without a doubt my classmates’ lives as well. I can vividly recall the day Mr. Mike stood in front of our student body at Pike Liberal Arts School. It was very quiet that day as Philip’s story and Mr. Mike’s powerful words resonated deeply with each of us students. It is safe to say that everyone listening was touched by Philip’s story, but the impact went way beyond that. We were given keys that day that were to serve as a reminder of the 43 seconds we must use to clear our hands, head and eyes before we even start our cars. Since that day, my key has been hanging in my car, and I am happy to say that I still see many of my classmates with this key as well, all because of Philip and his family’s dedication to spread awareness. I am extremely thankful that my classmates and I now have this small, yet powerful, key to serve as a reminder for us to make smart choices and practice safe driving. This key and Philip’s story have made all of us aware of the dangers of driving distracted or impaired, thus giving us all a reminder daily that if followed, can save our lives.
After leaving that day, I knew Philip’s story and the legacy he had left on this earth for all of us here to follow. That day, Mr. Mike had told us stories of his son’s talented football career at Auburn. Yet, he also spoke of Philip’s character as well. We heard stories that spoke of a young man who was kind, positive, caring, uplifting and so much more. These stories told of times Philip would go out of his way to make others smile. In hearing stories of how Philip did such things, I believe that God gave him a special role as a light in many people’s lives, especially in the lives of children. I believe that God has called me to be the same source of positivity in children’s lives and hope to choose a career path that allows me to “Love Like Lutz” and do so.
In waiting to be a light in my future career, I have had the opportunity to be a light now in my community and school. One of my favorite ways of doing so is through cheerleading. This April, I had the honor of leading my cheerleading team towards winning a national championship at the National High School Cheerleading Championship in Orlando, Florida. Our little squad of ten was the first from our school to attend nationals in sixteen years, so we knew just attending this competition was a big deal for our school and city. We were very determined and excited to have the opportunity to make a name for our school, and we did just that! While practicing to attend this competition, I was also researching and applying for this scholarship. In school, my class was also completing the 43 Lessons to Legacy handbook. In doing so, I learned so much about how to be a better leader for my team through Philip’s story and legacy. As Philip’s character is highly spoken of in the 43 Lessons to Legacy handbook, I was able to take what I had learned from his example and lead in that way. I learned how to become better at speaking positively to my teammates in times where we were each overwhelmed with nerves. I learned the importance of instilling confidence in others and how to be available at all times for my teammates. Without the lessons of leadership that I learned during this time from Philip, I know that my experience as a leader on my team would not have been the same. If this positive outlook is how Philip lived his life each day–and from his story, I believe that it is–then it is safe to say that Philip truly was living his life to the fullest and for others rather than himself. I hope through this platform this is a lesson that I too can share with those I meet along my journey in life.
Finally, after hearing Philip’s story, I was inspired to do more in my community as well. I believe Philip’s story has this same effect on others, too. Before the coronavirus struck, many activities that I enjoyed participating in were leading young children in music class in my church, preparing and delivering meals for the less fortunate with local organizations, visiting local nursing homes to deliver fruit baskets and many more community service projects through clubs at my school. I have also had the opportunity to serve as Pike County’s Distinguished Young Woman this year. Through this platform, I hope to be a role model for younger girls in my community and to show them how to believe in themselves and what they are passionate about. Through participating in each of these activities, I have had the blessing of bringing joy to others. Yet, the people I meet through these activities bring me greater joy through getting out and helping in my community. I encourage those reading this to do the same because it is so rewarding! Acts 20:35 says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” I truly believe this is what this verse embodies, and I believe Philip knew that as well. His impact in his community and in each life that he touched is a testament to the life he lived while here on earth. Through learning of his story through his father and this foundation’s curriculum, Philip has greatly impacted my life in many ways. I am very grateful to have the opportunity to be a representative of this foundation and to have the chance to spread awareness of the dangers of distracted driving and the importance of using your gifts to live life to the fullest as a source of light like Philip did. I can only hope to have the same impact as Philip had on those that I meet through this journey.