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Alumni Spotlight: Julie Henderson Rucker

Two traditions run deep in the Rucker household: 4-H and ABAC, and for Julie Rucker, ABAC alumnus, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Julie attended ABAC from 1988 to 1989 and went on to receive her bachelor’s degree in English from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia. While attending GSU, she was at a Baptist Student Union (BSU) event at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center where she unknowingly met her future husband.

“I remember seeing him for the very first time, and he was in BSU at ABAC while I was active in the BSU at Georgia Southern. He had on a pair of overalls, and he played the banjo. I thought wow that guy can really play. So, I remember the very first time I laid eyes on my husband, but I didn’t really meet him until a year or two after that,” she said.

The young couple reconnected at the home of Penny Chesnut, another ABAC alumnus, for a BSU social. While dating her now husband Keith, she continued her education by obtaining her master’s degree in English from Valdosta State University and her Ed. D in curriculum studies from Georgia Southern University

In reflection, Rucker comments, “I guess the older I’ve gotten the more I’ve come to appreciate my time at ABAC, relationships that I’ve formed with people who didn’t attend ABAC when I did, but we have that in common.”

“I go to alumni events with my husband who was on the ABAC Alumni Association board, and when we go to these alumni events we go because we like meeting other people who have that connection to ABAC. And we can talk about how much ABAC’s meant to us and how it got us started on the right foot for our career.”

Rucker’s career has certainly been headed in a great direction, with a recent shift from being the Dean of Instruction at Tift County High School to the new Assistant Principal.

While she started her career as an English teacher, Rucker says, “I love working with our administration to help our students be the best they can be, both academically and just to be well-rounded.”

Her accomplishments don’t stop at her school. Rucker has served as the president of the Georgia Council of Teachers of English and as the local chair for the National Council of Teachers of English and remains active in the Tift County 4-H, Georgia 4-H, and the Georgia Museum of Agriculture.

She balances her busy life with family time and a few healthy hobbies, including reading and cross fit. “I love cross fit. That is something I do for me.”

Rucker’s daughter Hannah has followed the family tradition by being an active 4-H member and an ABAC alumnus. She will be transferring to the University of Georgia this fall to pursue her career as a 4-H leader.

The Rucker family is rooted in a love for ABAC and 4-H. From meeting her husband to sending her daughter to college, she says, “I wound up back where I started, interestingly enough.”