Meet Gracie Barranco, a 2022 PFL Scholarship Winner
I am overwhelmed with gratitude upon being selected as a recipient of the 2022 Prepared for Life (PFL) Scholarship. I would like to thank the entire Lutzie 43 Foundation for this amazing contribution to my educational career. More importantly, I would like to thank the foundation for the exceptional work they have done for safe driving and the improvement of our community as a whole.
I was introduced to Philip Lutzenkirchen in 2014 when I was 12 years old. He was the new hire at my dad’s financial firm in Montgomery, AL. Three of my older brothers attended Auburn University and there was unanimous excitement surrounding having Philip in the office. I have a few memories with Philip, but the one that is the most prevalent in my mind is the time he ate dinner with my family. Even at my young age, his kind demeanor and intentional listening skills stuck out to me. It was no secret he was a hard worker and set an example for others in many aspects of his life.
Now being a student here at Auburn University, I feel more impacted by Philip’s legacy than ever before. His positivity and kindness have had the greatest impact on me. The phrase he used often “I know God is working so I smile” is still used by all of my family. I have five brothers and was consequently raised to be a hard worker, a tough girl, and most importantly a positive contributor to my family. It is Philip’s legacy of positivity that has continued to impact me and the entire Auburn community. In the current state of our world, which seems to be an endless cycle of negativity, an optimistic mindset is more important than ever. I commend the joyful spirit of Philip and remember that if all else fails, Christ is there to catch us. Philip’s life and legacy remind me to never take things for granted and to lean on God in every situation.
Philip’s joy impacted me not only as a child but also as a student here at Auburn. I had the opportunity to enter the Philip Lutzenkirchen Excellence in Public Speaking Competition. Through this competition, I was able to connect with Mike Lutzenkirchen and share the memories my family had with Philip. Jennifer Johnson, who leads the Public speaking competition, taught Philip while he was at Auburn, and now she is my professor. These connections to Philip are obvious displays of God’s love and grace.
Philip’s journey inspires me in so many ways and receiving this scholarship motivates me to emulate his kindness and leadership. I am in my Second year at Auburn. My major is Public Relations and my minor is Political Science. I’ve had the amazing opportunity to become involved on campus in student government, my church, and my sorority. I’m continuing my passion for Governmental relations, where this past summer I completed an internship in Washington, D.C. where I interned in both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives. I believe in the betterment of our society and feel thankful to participate in the law-making process in our country. Although I’m not exactly sure where I’ll be upon graduation in two years, I know that in whatever I do, I want to work hard and give back. For now, I’m smiling because God is working.