Carrying on a Legacy - Jackie Rueckert '21
“The family connection gives me a sense of pride, especially this year, on the College’s 75th anniversary.”
It’s not uncommon for Utica College students to have family ties to the College, carrying out a legacy started by a parent or grandparent.
But for Jackie Rueckert ’21, the UC roots run deeper than most.
Her great-grandfather was Winton Tolles, one of Utica College’s founders and its first-ever dean of students.
“The family connection gives me a sense of pride,” says Rueckert, “especially this year, on the College’s 75th anniversary.”
Rueckert, who graduated with a degree in liberal studies and a concentration in early childhood and childhood education, is currently pursuing a Utica College master’s degree in special education while working full-time as a special education teacher at Hughes Elementary in Utica.
While Rueckert admits that working with elementary students during a pandemic has been “challenging,” the experience has “taught me lots of patience, flexibility, and perseverance,” she says. “Utica College prepared me by providing me with amazing education professors, such as Richard Moon, Kerry Sullivan, Meghan Foster, and others who have helped me professionally and personally.”
Coincidentally, it’s another family member who inspired Rueckert’s interest in teaching children with special needs: her cousin Nathan, who has cerebral palsy. “Nathan is a smart young man who loves everything and everyone,” she says. “Even though he is in a wheelchair, that doesn’t stop him!”
ReUp Education Partners with Utica University to Expand Opportunities for Adult Learners, Social & Economic Mobility
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