Ruepps receive scholarships to military colleges

Ruepps receive scholarships to military colleges
Posted on 03/08/2023
Steven and Frank Ruepp

VALDOSTA – Moody Air Force Base brings a variety of assets to the community, including one gem in particular that ended up at Lowndes High School: The Ruepp Family, who can claim that all three of their children have earned full ride scholarships to college.

The Ruepp Family moved to Valdosta from Arizona when they were stationed at Moody Air Force Base just over 10 years ago, school officials said in a statement.

Frank, Steven and Spencer Ruepp immediately got involved at their schools as new Vikings.

“They were pleased when their parents decided to make Lowndes County their forever home after both retiring from the Air Force,” school officials said.

Spencer, the eldest of the three, quickly found AFJROTC to be his niche. It taught him “work ethic and to take nothing less than a successful future.” Spencer succeeded by earning his pilot license as a junior and a scholarship to attend the Air Force Academy as a senior. He will graduate from the Academy in May and is headed to Laughlin Air Force Base to begin Undergraduate Pilot Training. 

Even four years out of high school and with big plans for his future, Spencer is often reminded of his foundations from LHS. “The Academy emphasizes the importance of leadership and character in all aspects of life,” Spencer said. “My involvement with AFJROTC and other clubs at LHS allowed me to display these qualities early on and made me the right fit for the Academy.”

Steven, Spencer’s younger brother, said he hoped to continue his brother’s pilot legacy.

“I knew I wanted to be in the Air Force because of my parents but when Spencer earned his pilot license, I became interested specifically in flying,” Steven said.

Now a senior, Steven has been involved in AFJROTC all four years, in addition to various other clubs and sports teams, and is a licensed pilot. He said he hopes to one day become an F22 or A10 pilot, which looks hopeful with the plan he has set for himself, school officials said.

Steven is one of just 100 J100 Scholarship recipients nationwide, earning a full ride to any college with an AFROTC program in addition to a book stipend, personal stipend and $10,000 per year toward housing costs.

He added he hopes to use this opportunity to attend the Air Force Academy and focus on aerospace engineering. 

Steven says the LHS staff, most notably Lt. Col. Dominicis, has been instrumental in achieving success. “Lt. Col. Dominices radiates,” Steven said. “His passion for flying helped my passion grow.”

Frank, also a senior at LHS, received the same military inspiration from his family. However, as an avid LHS baseball player, he wanted to make room for both military and sports, crafting his own path. The United States Merchant Marine Academy offers him the best of both worlds, school officials said.

Like his brothers, Frank will be attending college at no cost. His appointment to the USMMA will pay for his education, food, lodging and provide additional payment.

“From this college, I can go into any military branch I want to,” Frank said.

Frank has been equally involved as his brothers during high school and said he feels he owes particular gratitude to the baseball team and his coach.

“Coach Page has always pushed me to be better than I was the day before, which makes me excited to continue baseball while I am in college,” Frank said. “He has been a big motivator for me.”

Lowndes High School officials said they are proud to have the Ruepp brothers as Vikings. The three say the feeling is mutual.

“There is a lot more offered at LHS than what you would get at any other school,” Steven said.

“Coming to LHS was a big blessing,” Frank added. “I don’t know if we would have had the same opportunities, much less received scholarships, somewhere else.”

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