MINT HILL, NC – Each school year, Queens Grant High School chooses a graduating senior for the Principal’s Award. This award is reserved for a high school student who has attended Queens Grant for all four years and exhibits remarkable character, leadership, and dedication to QGHS. Emily Ruppe is the 2020 recipient of this prestigious award and it wasn’t an easy task.
Mr. Josh Swartzlander first met Emily while working as the school’s counselor. Guiding seniors toward accomplishing their goals for the last four years, Swartzlander gained perspective on the differing academic paths contingent on each student’s future aspirations. Now, principal of Queens Grant High School, he considers his time as a counselor beneficial in that he better understands the plight of high school students and their need for direction.
“Emily is a very dedicated student,” Mr. Swartzlander said. “The only B she ever received was before she attended high school. Her work ethic is unrivaled. She is always smiling. Always full of life and energy.” While a sophomore, Emily and her father, Alan, met with the school’s principal in order to place her in a position where she would have as many scholarship opportunities as possible. Following that meeting, she was enrolled in some of the most challenging courses, many AP credits, QGHS offers, and this put her in the running to finish at the top of her class, graduating with a 4.43 weighted GPA.
Through involvement in the student council and various other clubs, both social and academic, Emily continued to find ways to contribute to the school. Her extracurricular interests ranged from singing in the school’s choir to participating in the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory musical. During her freshman year, she won the school talent show for her singing and piano performance.
Emily’s AP English teacher, Beth Warshauer, said, “Emily is a delight in the classroom! As an incredibly conscientious student, she brings her insight and her tenacity to every learning opportunity in class. Her work in AP Lit illuminated texts for the class and revealed her sharp intellect. All this aside, she is a remarkably witty and funny young woman! Her observations about characters and the situations in which they found themselves kept the class laughing and brought a wonderful levity to the room. The world is getting a great gift as she journeys forward!
College Counselor, Emily Bock said, “Emily always shows up to campus with a smile on her face and a pep in her step. She is a leader among her peers demonstrating carefulness, selflessness, and empathy. She truly embodies the ideals of service and compassion. Emily puts her heart and soul into everything she does on campus and off. On-campus she is involved in Beta Club, National Honors Society, and the International Thespian Society. In both NHS and ITS, she has held leadership positions, including serving as the President of NHS this school year. During her time as a student, she has been devoted to serving her community by completing various service projects and working as a Teen Volunteer at Atrium Health Mercy Hospital. As a Teen Volunteer, she worked at the front desk of the hospital, baked and served cookies to staff members and visitors, and assisted at a nursing station. She was selected to serve as a Team Leader during the summer of 2019.”
History teacher Ashley Kummer mentioned that Emily is an exemplary representative of Queen’s Grant High School. “While I have known Emily for at least 3 years, I specifically had the privilege of teaching her AP U.S. History for the 2018-19 school year. I thoroughly enjoyed having her in my classroom. Not only is she a dedicated student who is committed to academic excellence, but she does it all with a humorous outlook. I can tell Emily’s classmates respect and admire her. She gives 100% effort in every assignment and works well with others during group work. In fact, I noticed that anyone working in Emily’s group tended to excel. I am incredibly proud of the effort she put into my class. She will be a wonderful asset to any academic program she chooses.”
While enrolled in high school courses and college-level courses during her junior and senior years, Pfeiffer University’s honors program awarded her scholarships that fully cover her tuition over the next four years of college.
Emily’s future plans are to attend Pfeiffer University, majoring in psychology, and minoring in criminal justice. She is interested in becoming a forensic psychologist and credits her late mother for being invested in her education. “She never forced a career role or subjects on me. She wanted me to follow my passions.” Her mother, a registered nurse, was “kind and caring and always praying for those in her life.”
Emily’s father Alan said that as challenging and difficult as it has been for Emily, his wife’s passing highlighted Emily’s incredible drive and will to succeed. She has assumed responsibility for her own success from her academics to her community service projects. Emily says her mom still inspires her greatly and her goal is to make her mom proud and honor her mom’s legacy by the way she lives her life.
Queens Grant High School specializes in offering “a challenging, character-based education.” Through the school’s program, students can “realize the full academic potential in preparation for higher education and life-long learning.”
With all that she has learned while at Queens Grant, Emily is sure to continue contributing to the world around her while also going after her career goals.