“When I first laid eyes on you, I knew you were special. I knew you’d do something amazing, impact the world.” These words were spoken by my mother upon my entry into high school. Just as any other fourteen year old would do, I listened respectfully but inactively. I dismissed her speech as simple “Mom talk”. I wouldn’t fully understand what she meant by “something amazing” until the second semester of my senior year.
An onsite admission session granted me an acceptance into Bowling Green State University but it also presented me with the opportunity to witness my first PLA presentation. I was familiar with the program but I didn’t fully understand its mission. Speaking to Dr. Snyder and a few PLA scholars was refreshing. Each scholar spoke with elegance and true appreciation. The gratitude was prevalent and I longed to feel that same thankfulness, to understand its intensity.
7:35pm would mark the start of an incredible journey. My phone rang and an unfamiliar number graced its screen. An even more graceful voice, caring a monumental message, informed me that I had been accepted into the PLA. My heart pulsed. It raced faster than it ever had. I’d made it! I’d been given the opportunity to become a member of the 2014 cohort. Looking back, I could have never imaged the impact accepting the scholarship would have on my life.
PLA has given me a sense of self and true value. I’ve learned more about who I am in the past six months than eighteen years of life taught me. If someone had asked me before, “who are you?” I wouldn’t have had the slightest clue. This is no longer the case. I value love, compassion, equality, happiness and most importantly gratitude. With as much sincerity that this testimonial can convey, I am thankful for my position in this program.
I have met some of the most amazing people. Not only my cohort members and other scholars but the staff as well. Before becoming a PLA scholar I’d never truly understood the true meaning of family. My mom was my biggest support system and that was all I knew. PLA has given me a support system incomparable to any other.
My name is Lariel Turner and I am a member of the 2014 cohort of the Sidney A. Ribeau President’s Leadership Academy. I am going to become an advocacy reporter, allowing my values to guide my life. I have a family and I’m so grateful. For these gifts I have PLA to thank. I am on the road towards achieving that “something amazing” my mom referred to so long ago.