Oak Park River Forest High School graduate Peter
Ruger considers it very important to be of service to people. And indeed, around town the Seattle University-bound Ruger is known as a reliable and helpful young man.
"He is known throughout the school and throughout the community for his responsible behavior, dependability and cheerful nature," wrote his dean, Deborah Blumenberg in recommending Ruger for a WEDNESDAY JOURNAL Citizen Award. "Peter is the type of student who improves a place by his efforts and presence,"
That cheerful nature is apparently the key to his willingness to be of service to others.
"I do what I enjoy, and it's really cool that what I enjoy can help other people," he said, just a bit uncomfortable that he might be coming off like some sort of saint.
"I'm not," he said. "I don't want to make it seem like I'm working all the time, because I like to have time to have fun."
Lucky for him that he finds so many aspects of service to be fun. He's become well known for being willing to bake?#34;usually a cake or cookies?#34;for most every occasion, big and small.
"Peter is an excellent cook and baker," wrote Blumenberg. "He typically celebrates a special occasion in a class with a culinary delight of his own making."
For Ruger, others enjoying his baking is just, well, icing on the cakes that he brings to class.
"I've always enjoyed baking," he said, recalling watching his mom make cakes and pies as a little kid.
"It's really cool taking a bunch of flour, eggs and sugar, and turning it into something beautiful," Ruger said. "People's eyes just light up. It's nice to have that be a part of your identity."
In certain keys ways, Ruger experiences working on the school newspaper in much the same way as baking. You start out with raw ingredients, and produce something other people can enjoy. Ruger started writing for Trapeze, the school paper, as a sophomore, handling various arts and entertainment pieces. This year Ruger was the paper's Arts and Entertainment editor, which gave him free reign to cover several of his favorite topics?#34;movies, theater and video games.
He's also a big fan of live theater. Though he didn't get cast in that freshman year play, Ruger spent the four summers prior to high school at theater camp. So writing about theater allowed him to stay close to it all. And, of course, there's that fun part, too.
"It's always fun seeing what they're doing at the three theaters at the high school," he said.
Of course, even for the most committed and socially conscious person, there's got to be a bit of just plain old self indulgence from time to time, and Ruger's favorite pastime is playing video games. In particular, he's a huge admirer of Nintendo game master designer Shigeru Miyamoto, who's been called the "Spielberg" of videogames for his creation of such video game classics as Donkey Kong and Super Mario Brothers.
"I like movies [but] I love video games," he said.
"Nintendo is awesome!"