Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy senior Rory Ruskovich knows what it takes to achieve his goals both in and outside the classroom.
A nearly straight-A student who also takes Advanced Placement classes, Rory managed to find time to enjoy many different sports during his high school years, including basketball, cross country and track.
But perfecting those athletic skills was not always easy. His dad, Mike Ruskovich, said because of where the family lives, it was a struggle to find a flat surface for his son to practice his basketball skills.
“We live on a mountain and it’s pretty steep,” said Mike Ruskovich. “It was hard to have a place to practice so we tied up a hoop to a tree and he would practice his shooting skills in the dirt.”
Once he saw how serious and determined his son was about basketball, he built up a flat area and poured concrete so his son had a level spot on which to practice. It paid off when Rory made the varsity team as a freshman.
Unfortunately with sports also came struggles with injuries and illnesses.
After making the varsity basketball team as a freshman, Rory had to sit out half of the season due to a broken collarbone.
“Right before state I tried to come back and ended up breaking it again,” he said.
But according to Mike Ruskovich, his son never gave up.
“I am proud of him for that as much as anything for sticking through it,” he said.
During his sophomore year, Rory came down with mononucleosis which caused him to be fatigued.
“It kept me from doing cross country and track” he said.
And this year a fractured hand caused him to miss a good portion of the basketball season.
“Every time I came back from an injury I was really motivated and wanted to contribute to the team,” he said. “They (the injuries) were obstacles to overcome.”
While persevering on the basketball court and in track and cross country, he also worked hard in the classroom, earning above a 4.0 grade-point average due to the Advanced Placement classes he takes.
A Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy student since sixth grade, Ruskovich is one of 40 seniors graduating this year. He attributes much of his academic success to the common goal shared by his close-knit group of classmates.
“Charter is an academic based school, and the kids there really want to get a good education,” he said. “It is kind of a competition at our school to get good grades.”
He said he has enjoyed all the close friendships he has created over the years and realizes it will be difficult to leave his friends when he starts school at Boston University in the fall.
He has never been to Boston, but looks forward to the adventure of exploring a new part of the country.
“I’m not really nervous. I’m looking forward to something new,” he said.
He plans to study marine biology and nutritional science.
One of Rory’s most recent adventures came during spring break this year when he traveled to Shanghai to visit his sister who is a music teacher there. He traveled with her and her students, who were about his age, to many places, including Tibet.
“It was really incredible to be able to experience this all so young,” he said.
As Ruskovich looks back to his years at Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy, he said one of the most significant lessons he learned there is the importance of balance in one’s life.
“You can’t work too hard and you can’t play too hard,” he said. “So you just have to find that balance.”