Chemistry teacher wins mentor award

Bianca Perlera, Reporter

   Nominated by former Southside students currently enrolled in Chemical Engineering at the University of Arkansas, AP chemistry teacher, Jeffery Rice, received the  2021 Distinguished High School Mentor Award from the Ralph E. Martin Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Arkansas. 

   “Students who have a chemistry major nominate a previous teacher that had an impact on them. I got an email from the Dean of the science department notifying me of the award,” Rice said.

   Alumni, Kaida Sheets, Barret Weidman, and Katie Settle, attending the University of Arkansas, and are current chemistry engineering majors, were given the opportunity to nominate a former teacher that impacted their learning experience. Retired teacher Dana Goins was the last faculty member to receive the Mentor Award in 2020. Following Goins’ footsteps, Rice is now the fifth Southside recipient for the year 2021.    

   “I am flattered that the students from the past still remember me,” Rice said. 

   Normally, teachers nominated for this award attend a banquet at the University of Arkansas to be recognized. Unfortunately, since coronavirus urges people to limit interactions, the banquet  was canceled. In addition, the award includes a donation for Rice’s teaching endeavors and to honor the University of Arkansas graduates of the chemistry engineering department.

   “I was given $1,000 to be able to use in my classroom, so I can purchase things with it. Typically, there is a banquet held up at the U of A that you are invited to, but obviously, they were all canceled this year,” Rice said. 

   Typically, there are three teachers honored with the award; however,  Rice was the only teacher nominated in 2021. 

   “It means a lot that they remember the course and that it still impacts them now while they are in college,” Rice said.