Sweaty, uniform stained by grass and dirt, Alex Stuepfert traded his maroon and gold football helmet for a shiny, brass baritone horn. And as most of his LeRoy High School football teammates jogged to the locker room, Stuepfert, as an underclassman, headed back onto the field to play in the marching band’s halftime show.
“I decided that I wanted to grow in all aspects in high school, and I got involved in as much as I could,” said Stuepfert, an incoming Illinois State University freshman from LeRoy who has been awarded the McLean County Full Tuition Scholarship. “It was a constant juggling act to make everything work with my schedule.”
In addition to football and band, Stuepfert was a member of the track and field team, and he participated in play productions, musicals, madrigals, and chorus. He was also inducted into the National Honor Society and actively served his community as a member of Key Club, Boy Scouts of America, and as a volunteer with his church.
“It was the community and the sense of family between me and my teammates, stage mates, or the people in whatever activity I was doing that kept me going, because it would have been super easy to drop everything and just focus on my studies,” Stuepfert said. “But I wanted to use this time to enjoy every opportunity given to me.”
Stuepfert said his jampacked high school schedule helped him develop time-management skills that he expects to utilize in college as a criminal justice sciences major. Although Stuepfert hasn’t yet identified a specific career path, he said he is attracted to the field because of family connections and the opportunity to serve the community.
“I’ve always had a passion for helping others, and I want to continue that through the rest of my life,” Stuepfert said.
Residents of LeRoy have experienced Stuepfert’s community-mindedness firsthand. To become an Eagle Scout—the highest rank attainable in Scouts—Stuepfert spearheaded a beautification project at LeRoy’s Howard Virgin Timber Park.
“It’s a park that I have a big connection with because my family and friends always go there, and we have a lot of memories from there,” Stuepfert said. “It’s a really nice local park that a lot of people can enjoy. But, right at the entrance of the park there’s a pavilion that hadn’t been really well kept.”
Stuepfert designed a plan, secured funding, purchased materials, and lined up community volunteers to, in the course of one day, re-landscape around the entire pavilion. He and his volunteers cleared out the overgrowth, planted new boxwood bushes, laid a brick border, and spread decorative rock. They also upgraded a nearby firepit.
“Once it was all finished and I could look at something that I had envisioned for almost six months, plus seeing what it meant to others in the community—it was a really nice moment,” Stuepfert said. He is looking forward to connecting with students who share a similar passion for service in college and is grateful for the opportunity to attend Illinois State as a McLean County Full Tuition Scholarship recipient.
“I’m excited for this huge, new experience, for me to see what it’s like to kind of be on my own,” said Stuepfert. His father, Daniel Stuepfert ’98, also attended Illinois State.
As he prepares for his next chapter, Alex Stuepfert said he has embraced serving as a role model for his two younger brothers and for kids in LeRoy who see his hard work and dedication to service pay off.
“What I’ve done in my community—I’ve set an example for the younger kids, and now they’re trying to do the best they can to be a big presence in their community,” Stuepfert said. “So, the fact that I’ve inspired others to ‘do good’ for the community is an amazing thought, and I can’t help but smile every time I think about it.”