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An interview with Mr. Ruffing

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As the year wraps up, Mr. Ruffing’s first year as principal also closes. I made my way to his office to get his take on how his freshman year as principal has gone.

What is do you think is your greatest achievement this year?

I made it this far. But really, I’m proud of a few different things. First, the way we handled the adversity (Jack Rolfes, Mr. Espelage getting shot) this year and other issues we dealt with this year. Next, every week I picked 2 different teachers to sub for. This gives the teacher a free period as appreciation. It gets me back in the classroom to teach students, since I can’t as a principal, and it lets me talk to the students and take their input. This communication lets me know how I’m doing and what I can do better, which I am extremely grateful for.

What is the biggest struggle as principal?

How much I’m pulled in so many different directions. You’ve got teachers, students, staff, alumni, outside organizations, parents and many more. Emails are crazy, and there’s a ton of them.

What do you do on a daily basis?

I sit here and eat all day. Really, it’s a lot of meetings, scheduled and unscheduled. Strategizing for this year, the next year, the next three years. Working with the budget, addressing the student body. Meeting, administrative functions, attend reunions and lunches, charity events, subbing for 2 teachers each week, attend lunches to honor alumni, student interviews, school and athletic budgeting, faculty meetings. I do it all, but the good thing is that I enjoy it.

What are some of your plans for the future?

We are starting a week earlier so that we can end first semester before Christmas break and end the school year a week earliuer, that way graduation will be the week before memorial day. It is also closely aligned with Seton’s so that we can work together better so that families with students at both schools can have an easier time. I’d like to be able to have students go to Seton and Elder so that students can take classes at Seton and they can take classes here (classes that are not offered at that school). This way we can share information, teachers, and students among both schools. That way we can remain 2 separate schools, but share each others resources.

What can you tell the seniors before they graduate?

Don’t forget purple Fridays. Remember where you came from., support Elder and others as you move on in life. Wherever you go, college, workforce, military, give it 100%. Live “What I had I gave, What I saved I lost.” Keep Altiora close to heart.

Good advice for incoming freshman?

Get involved. You have 4 years of high school, that’s it. If something might interest you, give it a try. When high school is over, some of those opportunities might not exist. Get involved in a club, a sport, the performing arts series, anything you might like at all. Try it. I didn’t know I’d like wrestling as much as I did in high school before I tried out for the team, and I ended up being pretty good at it. You never know what you might interest you, but if some or group intrigues you, get involved.

Any general comments to wrap up this interview?

It’s been a great year. It went by super fast. I’ve enjoyed working with everyone so much. It’s an honor to be the principal of this great school. Altiora!

 

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