Senior Edition 2018: Features
The Decision of a Lifetime

Article by Christian Pierce


Meet a kid who made the difficult decision to choose academics over sports. You won’t find him after school on the fields. You won’t find him working in fast food. You won’t find him trying out for the school musical. He’s at home studying. Meet the kid who made a sacrifice not very many others would make.

Kings Senior Justin Ruegsegger prioritizes school above everything else, which is not easy for many.

“Prioritizing school is more finding time that you want to spend doing other stuff and using that for studying. You can get some extra time in that way. Balance. Don’t try to focus too much on it, but don’t put it to the side either.” For Justin, it becomes difficult to prioritize at times, especially towards the middle of the year when he gets burnt out and he hasn’t had a break for a while.

Homework is not much of a problem for Justin. He doesn’t spend much time on it at all.

“Usually only thirty minutes a night. I do the rest of my homework during other classes so I don’t have to do it at home.”

Stress isn’t much of a problem for Justin. He is prepared for his tests, completes his work and is confident he will do well, so there isn’t anything much for him to stress about. This all comes from work ethic.

Justin’s parents have always seen how hard Justin works.

“What I like is we don’t have to tell him to do his work, he is responsible enough to understand what he needs to get done and he gets it done early. He knows he is responsible for his work, that’s what I admire most about him.”

Mrs.Ruegsegger agrees.

“He plans his time too, even if it looks like he is leaving it to the end he’s got his time figured out so that he can get everything done he needs to get done and he focuses.”

When it comes to setting goals, Justin has had a great deal of guidance along the way from his parents.

Mr. Ruegsegger explained that he had goals for his son that impacted the way

Justin works.

“We had given him some goals that we personally did some financial rewards for him. Life gives you rewards when you work hard. So we did that. He has done very well. He has made more financially from academics than he has even for birthdays or anything else. We have done all that throughout all of high school. Him having goals and achieving those goals and hitting those goals are pretty exciting for us.”

Justin has had a positive mentality while challenging himself in high school.

Mrs. Ruegsegger talked about Justin’s academic mindset.

“I like that he just didn’t go for the easy classes. I think that is my academic story for him. You know that it is easy to do. He went for a lot of AP classes. He did a lot of that versus I’m going to take the easy ones and get an A and not work as hard.”

Mr.Ruegsegger views Justin’s study habits as unique.

“He is unique in that he thinks of what he needs to as far as goals, and achievements. He plans it out and then does what he needs to do to hit those things. I know that when I was in high school that’s not how I thought. He’s always wanted to do well and go off to college and excel in college and excel in life and we already know he’s going to be successful just because he’s planning the things that he needs to do now in order to be successful and he’s achieving it.”

Mrs. Ruegsegger accepts that Justin’s study habits are different than her own.

 “He doesn’t always do things right away either though he sometimes leaves things more closely to the end where it’s like why are you leaving it to the end? That kind of seems to be how he works best. He knows he’s got it, but he’s like I’m doing it here or this night, I’m not doing it a week before. I’m doing it right here. That’s what seems to works for him.”

Justin’s parents told him growing up, that they were not going to be looking at or asking about his work. They told him it was his job to understand the school work and get it done. His parents wanted him to be prepared for life when he gets older and becomes an adult. Justin’s parents are proud of him for his work ethic and responsibility.

Justin may have been inspired by his older brother, James Ruegsegger who was a very good academic student as well. James shared what he admires most about Justin’s work ethic.

“He puts a lot of work and dedication in. He actually studies. I don’t recall studying much in high school.”

James also described Justin’s work ethic.

“He always does his work before playing with his friends unless he is one hundred percent sure he has time to do it later. He is not a complete (I’ve got to do my homework now), but he makes sure he will get it done no matter what.”

With guidance from his family and his own intelligence, Justin has become an excellent student and hard worker.

While being an excellent scholar Justin has also dedicated a lot of time to the community and has many service hours.

“I have around 700 to 800 hours of [community service]. A lot of it is done at my church. I’ve worked with special needs kids and also grade school kids and kindergarteners for a while. I’ve done that since 7th or 8th grade. Now I coach soccer. It is my niece’s third grade girls soccer team. It is a lot of fun working with her and some of her friends and getting to know them. I also get to spend time with my brother-in-law and sister who are also coaching the team. Also, I ran the scoreboard at the high school for awhile. I did it for the varsity games my freshmen and sophomore years and then junior year, I did it for both JV and Varsity.”

The difficult decision of prioritizing academics over everything has paid off for Justin and has left him with a work ethic that will last, and guide him throughout the rest of his life.

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