This is the kind of email that brings me to tears…
It’s 2:35 a.m. on Thursday, November 19. I was reading through my journal and stumbled upon my audio speech for my PFO graduation in 2012. I thought you might be interested to hear the text, nearly four years later:
Someone pretty smart once said, ‘All good things come to an end.’ Although it seems pessimistic, it’s true. Nothing really continues indefinitely, and it’s as if the good things end so much quicker. And that’s how I feel about finally graduating from PFO. After five incredibly long years of buddy events, committee meetings, retreats, checking my email incessantly, dance parties, driving to Jen’s house like four times a week, and meeting awesome people, it’s finally done. All of those good things are ending.
But, that person I mentioned before failed to recognize something – something that I have most recently come to realize. And, that is that all great things never die. Jesus, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Ghandi. What do all these people have in common? They were great people. All of them had missions, goals, and values that inspired hundreds – no, millions – of people. Their memories and actions all still live out today in people around the world because they were truly great.
To me, Playing for Others is one of the truly greatest things to have ever happened. Yes, the physical things are all ending for me – but I know for fact that all of the values, skills, attitudes, perceptions and memories I have gained from this organization will stay with me. My life has been completely altered by PFO, and for the better. Five, ten, twenty – even fifty years from now I will still be living as a PFO teen because its greatness will continue to inspire me for the rest of my life.
So this isn’t really any sort of end at all. It’s just the beginning. It’s the start to my brand new life as a changed human being. The start of my ability to take what I’ve learned from the organization and run with it. The start to my own personal greatness. So maybe one day I’ll be like MLK Jr, Rosa Parks, or even Jesus [laughs], and I’ll make a lasting impression on someone’s life. But when that day comes I’ll know that it’s not just me, but the PFO in me that will be living on forever, continuing indefinitely, proving to be truly, absolutely, 100 percent greatness.”
I wasn’t sure how true this still rang in my life until now. PFO was the greatest influence on my life as a leader and a morally behaving human being.
Beginning in May, I will graduate from Appalachian State University with a bachelor’s of science in communication, public relations and a minor in leadership studies. Directly following, I will travel to Australia to visit Adam Whiting amongst many others to discover myself further and explore the beautiful world granted to us. I will then begin my position as Social Media Manager & Website Director for Lennar Homes, Charlotte division, whom I have been interning for for two years. Then, I will be a real adult.
None of this would have been possible without PFO. I had it in me all along, but I needed PFO to help me discover it. And so I conclusively say: thank you.
• Meghan Neal, PFO class of 2012
Thank you Meghan….for reminding me why we do what we do…