NEDERLAND — Ethan Rice is a senior at Nederland High School, balancing two broad sides of the education spectrum — academics and the arts.
During the day, the 17-year-old is a member of student council, the National Honor Society, Terrific Nederland Teens, and a student ambassador to Southeast Texas youth.
“I’ve always loved being a leader,” Rice said. “I enjoy delegating people and making decisions that not only affect my community, but also my peers at school.”
However, after the bell rings at the end of the day, Rice abandons her leadership duties to read lines behind a curtain and stretch her vocal cords on stage.
Rice developed a love for the fine arts through her father, Randy, who played bass in high school.
“I’ve always enjoyed music,” he says. “I love music, and that’s mainly because of my dad. He always played bass around me and introduced me to music like Elton John and Billy Joel. They are some of my idols in music.
Rice joined the concert choir in sixth grade, adding piano to her repertoire two years later.
“I really fell in love with the choir in middle school,” he said. “So when I got to high school, I knew straight away it was something I wanted to do. That’s what started to set me on the path today, being really active in music.
Rice participates in the Nederland concert choir and is often a key player in musical productions.
Roxane Gray, a theater arts teacher at Nederland High School, recruited Rice in her sophomore year for their musicalOklahoma.
“(Rice) has really become a conscientious and hard-working actress,” she said. “He challenges his cast and crew colleagues to achieve a level of excellence so he can be proud of the accomplishment of the ensemble. I loved watching him grow. He is also an accomplished musician as well as an actor. He will continue to do wonderful things.
Rice plays piano at churches in Southeast Texas, including St. Charles in the Netherlands, St. Mary’s in Fannett, St. Elizabeth’s in Port Neches, and St. Jude’s in Beaumont.
“It’s an extension of my faith,” Rice said. “I personally think I love it because of the skill I have.”
In addition to her musical and theatrical talent, Rice is also in the top 10% of her class, maintaining a 4.0 GPA and a full class load.
His love for history, reading and research led him to become a lawyer.
“I definitely have the artistic side of me, where I’m in choir, theater and so on, but there’s a certain part of me that loves the story,” he said. “I actually like to read and do research a lot. I feel like law school would be a good path for me to continue with the skills I have.
This fall, Rice will begin her journey to pursue a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Texas A&M. He still plans to get involved in local music and theater arts.
Before graduating from high school, Rice said he just wanted to soak up the blessings his home has to offer.
“A lot of times, especially in small towns, we overlook the blessings we have, like community,” he said. “When you move to a big city like College Station, you might not find that sense of community. I want to spend more time with my close friends, absorb everything we have here, and be grateful for every opportunity.