Even the greatest of institutions are not guaranteed to continue indefinitely. As many of you know from reading this blog, Rice High School is now closed. I attended the Alumni Open House this past Friday, and enjoyed the last moments there. Unfortunately, I was the only one in my graduating class to make it. So I just had to put up something to let everyone else know how it went. I took pictures, visited every floor that was available, and talked to everyone I could about how they felt about everything. Even in the midst of what was to be the last time graduates of the school would be in the building, there was a feeling of togetherness present. It was good to see different generations of Rice Men who came through. From those alumni who attended back in the 1950’s to the 2011 graduates, a wealth of stories emerged. More than what can be expressed here.
Above is the last year book. Man, I will never forget the life lessons I learned here. I know this is off the top, but much respect due to my freshman year English teacher, Mr. Parris. I entered his class trying to pass off sub-par assignments as “authentic” because it was closer to the way I talked. When I attempted to pass off bad sentence structure by saying “I write how I talk,” I got corrected right then and there. Mr. Parris wasn’t having it. He expressed to me that the point of writing is for clarity, and that is the most important objective. I want to thank him for calling me on my BS early, wherever he is.
I decided to visit the 6th floor gym, the training grounds of the infamous Rice Raiders. I spent more time in the school’s library then I did here, but I still have some fond memories of this space. Everybody just started up an impromptu game, with folks showing out (not me) what they used to do. Rice was more than basketball, but no one can front on our players!
Despite this, there is still a glimmer of hope. I spoke with Brother Sherlog at the event and he along with other faculty and alumni are moving forward with the intention to reopen the school in a different location. I wish to be part of any effort that leads to this outcome. I have said much about this school, and what its closing means to many. I wish to share with you the words of the Director of Development, Kawone Williams in this video below. I want to extend my thanks to him for holding this event, and sending off Rice the right way.
-Marc W. Polite
Class of 1997