Agricultural education teacher Ed Rice’s office was covered in awards and thank-you notes from students as he prepared a monthly meal for his students on Friday morning.
He usually cooks for his students on the last Friday of the month, but it was the seniors’ last day of school, so he made an exception: breakfast burritos.
“When I start in the fall, I always have them write five expectations of me and what they want out of me, and that was one of the things that came out of that – they wanted me to cook every day for them,” Rice said.
The students compromised at one meal a month.
Rice is retiring from teaching after 28 years in the profession and 18 years at Montezuma-Cortez High School. He spent eight years in administration and will be replaced by Logan Garrett, who will take over the program after being a student-teacher with Rice for two years.
“My life was agriculture (during high school and college), but I did not see my own opportunity of getting into a farm at that time,” Rice said. “I wanted to stay connected to agriculture, and I thought this (teaching) was the best way to stay connected and have a good impact on the future of agriculture in this area.”
He said he also likes teaching agriculture because he gets to interact with students. He said the students know that he will help them out.
“They are good about it – they do not expect it all the time – but they know I will be here after school or on weekends trying to get things done, and they know that and respect that,” Rice said. “It builds a different relationship with them where they are not afraid to come and talk to me about things.”
Rice also said he enjoys that he has taught generations of families.
In fact, he taught Garrett’s mother in school in Dove Creek.
“I am going to be here. I am a phone call away,” Rice said. “I never want to see an ag program fail, but she is going to be strong in here. I think she (Garrett) is really good.”
Rice decided to retire because he feels it is time to move on.
“Ag teaching especially is a really high-time, high-energy job,” Rice said. “I will be involved with it. I won’t be gone for long.”
Rice is originally from Montana. He graduated from Colorado State University and immediately began teaching in northeast Colorado. He took a break for about 10 years, then moved to Southwest Colorado to teach at Dove Creek High School. He transferred to M-CHS in 2000.
Rice and his wife of 41 years, Robin, have four children.
He was recently awarded a lifetime achievement award from the Agriculture Teacher’s Association. He will accept the award at the conference in June.