Sarah Rucker--100 Alumni You Should Know

Sarah Rucker--100 Alumni You Should Know


By Tailor Finney

"You can’t really know how you are supposed to fit into the world and make it better until you know a little more about the world,” said USAO graduate Sarah Rucker.

Since graduating from USAO in 1998 with an English degree, Rucker has found her place in the world. She is a high school teacher in Elgin, OK, living on a small farm with her husband and daughter. In rare moments of stillness, Rucker can be found with a book in her hand; however, on most days she can be found doing yard work, cooking, or running. In addition to teaching, she has found a passion in gardening.

“It is a toss up whether my greatest passion is teaching or working the soil and growing things in the garden,” said Rucker. “Both are about taking risks and putting in hard work to get great rewards.”

Rucker is in her 20th year of teaching. In her twenty years, she has experienced varying class environments teaching English II, English III, and AP Language and Composition. She has taught 7th-12th grades, students wearing ankle monitors in rooms with no books, and even advanced placement students in rooms filled with books and technology.

“I enjoy all classrooms, but my most pleasure is with my AP students, because they volunteer to take my class,” said Rucker.

Rucker strives to incorporate the lessons from USAO into her teaching. She attributes these lessons to “what must have been a Golden Age for USAO,” a time of learning by questioning.

“It didn’t matter who the professor was or what the subject was, it seemed the key was always learning to look below the surface,” said Rucker. “Ask the hard questions, and then figure out what these lessons had to do with life.”

Rucker’s professional accomplishments come in new packages every year, but she finds that in her 20th year of teaching it is an incredible accomplishment that instead of feeling burnt out, she feels “more passionate than ever”.

“I model my teaching from the best professors I had at USAO,” said Rucker. “I push my students to think for themselves while nurturing that love for the English language as well. I’ve had former students say, ‘remember when we talked about’ and it’s great to see that student has stored that conversation away and is now ready to apply it to life. Knowing those life lessons stick is the most important accomplishment.”

Rucker proclaims that the lessons she learned during her time at USAO before her 1998 graduation might have even more relevancy today.

“It doesn't matter if I am making a parenting choice, teaching decision, or going to the polls,” said Rucker. “I can’t act responsibly if I am only looking at the surface that the world wants me to see. I think these lessons are even more important now, in this world of easy information and fake news.”