Meet Ella Grace Bradley, a 2023 PFL Scholarship Winner
Being named a Prepared for Life (PFL) Scholarship recipient is an incredible blessing. I am so grateful to receive this scholarship as I begin my next chapter of learning at the University of Alabama. This award will allow me to reach my educational goals, and I am honored to share the importance of the Lutzie 43 Foundation’s Mission with others.
I first heard the story of Philip Lutzenkirchen when his dad, Mr. Mike Lutzenkirchen, came and spoke at an assembly when I was a middle-school student at The Lakeside School. As I sat in the gymnasium that day, I was overcome with sadness at the thought of this young man losing his life and how everything changed in an instant. I also thought about how this accident had impacted the lives of his family members. I remember thinking how brave his dad was to want to share this story with students like me. I cried as I heard him recall having to tell his wife and his daughters that Philip had died. This loss impacted so many lives. Hearing this story, I knew that I would never be the same.
After the assembly, I made a point to thank Mr. Mike for sharing with us that day. My teacher, Mrs. Kim Beaty, took a picture of me with Mr. Lutzenkirchen and shared it with my mom. Mrs. Beaty could tell I was genuinely moved by this message, and she knew it would be something that I would want to share with my parents. She was right. I remember coming home and telling my mom and dad all about it. I remember my mom saying that I needed never to forget this. She told me how her best friend (whom I know as my Aunt Wendy) lost her brother Casey in a car accident at 18. She said that this loss was something she would never forget. It was heartbreaking as I imagined Wendy’s family dealing with the same tragic loss I heard described by Mr. Mike and his family in my school assembly.
I never forgot the lessons that Mr. Lutzenkirchen shared with us that day. At the time of the assembly, I was not yet of driving age, yet it made such an impression. It made me think about how one decision could change everything. When the time came, and I earned my driving permit and got behind the wheel, I remembered that powerful message. It made me think about the importance of making safe choices every time I started to drive.
The legacy and life of Philip Lutzenkirchen also made a significant impression on me. It reminded me that as a student-athlete, leader, and Christian friend, I must show leadership even when it might not be easy. The purposeful way Philip poured into the lives of the young people around him made me want to live in a way that reflected the same kind of servant leadership. In particular, his work with children spoke to me. It inspired me to get involved with the Short the Squirrel organization in my last years of high school. Teaching children that reading is their superpower is something that I will carry with me throughout college, and I will seek to serve the cause throughout my life. I believe this call to serve all started with the challenge to “Live like Lutz, Love like Lutz, and Learn from Lutz.” I love reading and sharing with these younger students. It has been such a blessing, and the joy goes both ways. I strive to apply the qualities that Philip displayed in his life and to be purpose-driven. It is my goal to strive to make a difference for good.
Thank you to Lutzie 43 Foundation for allowing me to be an ambassador for your outstanding organization as I will seek to share the importance of reducing the number of distracted driving incidents and the responsibility we all have to maintain a clear head, clear hands, clear eyes, and to click it when we get behind the wheel.