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Lutzie 43

Meet Grace Swain, a 2024 PFL Scholarship Winner

I am truly honored to be selected as a recipient of the Prepared for Life (PFL) Scholarship. My name is Grace Swain, a graduate of St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Mobile, Alabama. As a devoted athlete with three other sisters in a small town, I see many parallels between Philip’s life and my own. Being selected as part of the 2024 Class of PFL Scholarship recipients is a true blessing. It reminds me to treat others with kindness, to work hard, and maintain perseverance.

As a cross country runner and tennis player, my first priority has always been encouraging and including my younger teammates. A little bit of kindness and guidance from an older athlete can make all the difference in someone’s life. During the summer, I carpool several players to morning practices. Driving multiple middle-schoolers to cross country practice at 6 am every summer morning is no joke. When they pile into my 2004 Honda Ridgeline truck (dubbed “Old Betty”), their endless conversations and questions keep me entertained. Old Betty, which was passed down to me from my father with duct tape on the seats and staples in the roof, is a safe space for all athletes and friends. I try to be an encouraging mentor for all underclassmen, guiding them through their struggles and helping them feel less alone. My primary goal is to become a safe, responsible confidant to the younger athletes. I truly believe that my treatment towards them will determine their behavior towards the underclassmen when they are my age.

Philip Lutzenkirchen’s life inspires me to make good choices and learn from my experiences. While he was an impressive athlete who was offered to play football for dozens of colleges, his true legacy stems from his generosity and compassion towards others. No matter the talent, although evident through Philip’s athletic prowess, a person’s true impact is determined by their character. Philip’s life and legacy motivates me to make thoughtful decisions, no matter how insignificant the choice may seem. His life makes me question: what legacy am I leaving behind for others? 10 years from now, no one will remember who came in first place. Words, actions, and trophies will all be forgotten and placed on the shelf – but my peers will always remember how I made them feel. I am not here to necessarily be the best, or the smartest, or the loudest. I am here to make others feel loved and valued. Our one true purpose in this life, reminded to me through Philip’s legacy, is to serve others. Implementing this change in my life is simple because there are so many ways to help another person. Telling my mom that I love her, helping my friend study for a test, or even holding the door open someone are simple deeds that can leave lasting impacts on someone’s life.

To me, the most valuable lesson I learned from Philip and his family is perseverance. Perseverance is truly invaluable because it allows us to overcome challenges, achieve our goals, and directly face our hardships. Without it, we cannot allow the difficulties we endure to change us into stronger versions of ourselves. Perseverance means the most to me because it is the sole trait that teaches me how to keep going when I experience a setback. Obstacles are inevitable throughout life, but it is important to learn this crucial trait in order to survive our struggles and grow from them. Perseverance is about learning from failures and using gained knowledge to help others. The best leaders are people who exhibit perseverance: someone who has experienced pain, suffering, joy, and eventually peace, because those are the experiences that make us empathetic towards others. It is impossible to experience life and exit unscathed. Everyone has battles that they fight individually, but it is imperative that we use perseverance to survive the struggles.

This scholarship is not simply a financial award; it is a call to action. I believe that by raising awareness of these dangers, we can prevent good kids from making poor decisions that could potentially harm their future. This program provides not only financial support, but also an incredible community of kind, encouraging mentors, who uplift and inspire students like me. I look forward to the next chapter of my life at Wake Forest University, where I will continue to promote the livelihood taught by the Lutzie 43 Foundation. I am excited for what the future holds as I work towards my goals. Thank you Lutzie 43 for this wonderful opportunity!