SAN ANTONIO — Alexandra Ruckstuhl is only 17 but is already striking gold.
“I think that I am hardworking, I don’t stop,” she said.
The Clark High School junior and JROTC marksman was just awarded a full ride to Purdue University in Indiana to get her private pilot’s license.
She was the only student in the school district to receive the scholarship.
“A usual flight program to get your pilot’s certificate or pilot license takes like months to get. For us students, they are cramming it into eight weeks. At the end of the eight weeks I will be able to fly my own planes,” she said.
Alexandra has always been amazed by aircraft.
“The way they work is just amazing to me; this huge aircraft made of metal weighing tons of pounds just in the air,” she said.
Alexandra was only one of 137 students in the country selected to be in the Air Force JROTC Flight Academy, Chief of Staff Private Pilot Scholarship program.
She said originally she had planned on becoming a mechanic, but after going through Air Force JROTC she realized she wanted to be a pilot.
Her JROTC instructors helped keep her eye on the target.
“It gets very difficult at times. They are very strict on everything and make sure you are always doing the right thing, but their goal is to push you to be a better person,” she said.
She also credits her local flight instructor, retired Air Force fighter pilot Major Casey Ratcliff, for helping her through the challenging flight school application process and spent his time training her at the Texas Skies Flight School in Boerne.
Alexandra’s parents also said they’re proud of her.
“Whenever the children are better than the parents, you feel like you’ve done something right in your life,” Alex’s father, Michael Ruckstuhl said.
Most parents might be nervous about their kids taking flight but her dad said he’s not worried.
“She learned how to drive two or three months ago, so that’s actually scarier than being a pilot as far as I’m concerned.”
Alexandra plans to join the Air Force after graduating next year and will apply to be a pilot.
“No one my age really gets this opportunity, so being given the opportunity, I’m grateful for it,” she said.
Alexandra will leave on June 7 for the 8-week program.
Her father said he wants to be her first passenger.