Retiree Spotlight: Mary Rice

Mary Rice

In 1996, a special woman entered St. Thomas Aquinas High School as both a teacher and a guidance counselor. Mrs. Mary Rice taught two sections of Grade 9 Humanities and served as counselor to freshmen and sophomores.  

Mary has been instrumental in guiding our students through some of their most formative years as both students and as young adults. For some, she has been absolutely pivotal in supporting them through very difficult times and navigating rolling emotions that are often accompanying passengers through the adolescent journey.

Although small in stature, Mary is grand in her gentle nature and free spirit. Years of practicing yoga has made her a model of balance, poise, and peace.

We were able to capture some of Mary’s final thoughts as she packs up 25 years of STA memories and carries our hearts along with her into her well-deserved retirement. 

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What have you most enjoyed about your time here at STA?      

I have enjoyed watching the students grow and change over the course of four years.  It is such a transformative time and watching this self-awareness blossom is inspiring and heartwarming.

What are some of your favorite memories?

Being part of Kevin Collins’ production of “Fast Cars and Elvis” which involved participation of not just students but also faculty and staff.   I sang in a quartette with Gordon Quimby, Joanne Rohde, and Chris Carmichael.  That is something I thought I would never do but Kevin and the students were so inspiring that I did it and loved it!

Being a chaperone for the Italy and France trips.  I had so much fun with the students, Mary Chamberlain, Diana Finan, Kate & Kevin Collins and others on the trip.

Coaching the Cross Country teams (male and female), especially when my sons were members of the team.

Going to school with my sons.  I loved it.  (I’m not sure they loved going to school with their mom!)

The STA Christmas parties, the end of year parties and the beginning of year parties were so much fun.

What will you miss most?

I will miss seeing different people on a daily basis, such as the students, faculty and staff.  I enjoy seeing people in the hall and having a quick chat or visiting Rachel in the Main Office and Brenda in the Attendance office.  The conversations are always fun. 

The Freshman Team and Counseling Department – they are such a gifted group of dedicated teachers and counselors, and I was always so impressed with them when we met.  What they do for the students is amazing and we have had a lot of fun together.

I have enjoyed lunches outside in the Adirondack chairs when the weather allowed and seeing who would show up to join Robin and me.

If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?

I wrote this in my senior yearbook and still tell it to myself today: “Look ahead and keep smiling.”

If you could leave one final message to the STA students of tomorrow, what would you say?

Be yourself and dare to follow your dreams.

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Thank you, Mary, for sharing your light, your laughter, and your love with the St. Thomas Aquinas community for so long. You are a gem to all who know you, one whose sparkle has added much to the collective STA treasure that we hold dear.

May you and your Jeep share many more adventures as you drive forward toward a new horizon.

Saints Pride!