2016 grad sets standard for leadership

Rudy Levinski earns several honors, including Commandant's Distinguished Leadership Award, at Virginia Tech.
Posted on 04/30/2020
Portrait photo of Rudy Levinski By Gary Weckselblatt

To say that Rudy Levinski has become an amazing leader at Virginia Tech would be an immense understatement.

The 2016 Quakertown Community High School graduate has been the recipient of major awards at Virginia Tech, where he is a senior Industrial Systems Engineering major with a minor in leadership.

The former Panther is a Regimental Executive Officer within the school’s Corps of Cadets, the military component of the student body. He is formerly a Commander responsible for the behavior and operations of 361 cadets, four companies, four Company Commanders, along with his Resident Assistant duties.

His initial honor came with the Aspire! Award for Civility, which praised him for embodying “civility not only in his service as a Cadet, but in his service as a leader on campus.” His work and dedication were recognized again at the 2020 Military Awards. With the Commandant of Cadets Maj. Gen. Randal D. Fullhart (U.S. Air Force, retired), reading the awards, Rudy’s name - actually Rudolph - was announced twice.

First for the VTCC Citizen-Leader Track Outstanding Graduate of the Year, awarded to a purpose-driven student with a strong work ethic, able to execute, and puts service first.

That was followed by the Commandant's Distinguished Leadership Award, presented to the Cadet who has provided exceptional leadership throughout the corp and university. “I never really expected it,” Rudy said in a phone interview. “It’s a tremendous honor and a privilege, especially to be chosen from among the other Cadets. I am truly humbled and honored.”

Rudy’s parents, Jim and Linda, couldn’t be more proud of their son. “Rudy's discipline and work ethic are without equal,” his dad said. “His Mom and I marvel at his grit to achieve his goals. But, as parents, we're most proud of his outstanding character and ‘others first’ mentality. He's a good man above all else.”

Rudy said he often thinks back to his days at QCHS, and recalls conversations he had with Superintendent Dr. Bill Harner. “He certainly has a passion for what he does,” he said. “You could tell that the things he does put people in position to succeed.”

His teachers also helped lay “the foundation in why I’ve had some degree of success,” Rudy said. He mentioned AP Chemistry teacher Darlene Hardy and football coach George Banas. “I really had to work to keep my grades up in Mrs. Hardy’s class,” he said. “And coach Banas instilled a level of discipline in me.”

Rudy’s teachers remember him quite well. His success did not take them by surprise.
“Rudy’s a great kid, a very high achiever,” Mrs. Hardy said. “He put in the work and he’s reaping the rewards. I remember mentioning Virginia Tech to him. It’s a great school. Rudy has thanked me for pushing him in that direction.”

Coach Banas said Rudy is “what you look for in a kid who comes through your program. He brings out the best in everybody around him. Rudy wasn’t the most gifted athlete, but he worked so hard to get better and earned his place on the field. Other players would look at him and the example he set. I love Rudy to death.”
The two QCHS educators said having a student like Rudy is the reason they became teachers. “You’re not going to reach everybody,” Coach Banas said. “When you get a success story like Rudy, it rejuvenates you. It propels you until the next Rudy.”

“Everything we’re going through right now, it instills hope and a sense of accomplishment that, yes, I am making connections and making a difference in someone’s life,” Mrs. Hardy said. “And they will make a difference in the world around them.”

Rudy is a year away from graduating Virginia Tech’s five-year program, and heading to Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Va., with the hope of commissioning as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. He will proudly continue in the military service of his grandfather Rudolph Fulginiti, who served 23 years in the Marines and Air Force.

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529-2028 or gweckselblatt@qcsd.org.
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