'Rudy' Makes Inspiring, Surprise Visit to Youth at Kane County JJC

‘Rudy’ Makes Inspiring, Surprise Visit to Youth at Kane County JJC

Without fanfare or publicity, Rudy Ruettiger, the inspiration for the 1993 sports film Rudy, made a surprise visit to the youth at the Kane County Juvenile Justice Center last week, leaving youth with a powerful message to change their lives for the better.

Ruettiger’s visit came on Thursday, May 25, after an invitation from Kane County Judge Clint Hull.

His story — of a down-and-out kid trying to realize his dream to play football at Notre Dame — is the stuff of legend, and it resonated with inmates at the JJC.

“Don’t quit dreaming,” Ruettiger said. “If you quit dreaming, life becomes miserable and hard. You keep on doing something you dream about, and then another one comes.”

During his visit, Ruettiger conducted a Q&A session with the staff and youth and talked about the process of making the movie. He spent time talking one-on-one in some cases, encouraging them and letting them know that they can lead by example.

Youths at the JJC said Rudy’s visit and his story left a lasting impression.

“I learned to do good despite all the discouragement,” one youth said. Another said the chance to talk with Rudy one-on-one helped him keep going even after failed attempts to achieve a goal.

“You all have a story,” Ruettiger told them. “You’re in here to help people. You are in a position to learn from your mistakes and tell others your story.”

About the Kane County Regional Office of Education

Led by Regional Superintendent of Schools Patricia Dal Santo, the Kane County ROE is located in Geneva and serves nine school districts. From teacher licensure assistance to professional development, the ROE’s mission is to advocate for education, provide leadership and perform regulatory functions. Learn more about the ROE’s offerings on FacebookTwitter and by signing up for the semimonthly newsletter.