Even though Tom Rice did retire, he is always with us: trusty morning and afternoon bus driver, reliable sub, cheerful presence at lunches, and the omnipresent repository of Graland stories -- he checks my memory and adds numerous details I have forgotten. I miss his roaming the campus on the weekend, for I often need a diversion amid the day’s tasks. Who else but Tom would take a break from weekend grading of history essays and exercise in our fitness center accompanied by the chatter on the History Channel and/or the Food Channel in the background?!
One of the highlights of the first Master Teachers’ Reception was Dr. Rod Mitchell’s reminiscences on the man I often call Sir Thomas of Aurora.
“Tom teaches by stories. His life is a series of stories: he regales students and adults alike with many exploits of Sasha, the St. Petersburg taxi driver, KGB informant, entrepreneur; the inner city exploits of him and Tom Casey, the C+ house painters; the heroic exploits of the Graland faculty basketball team. Like good wine, all these stories improve with age
“Is there anything about history he does not know? Ask Tom a question about the evolution of democracy in Greece, and he will transport you in a flash to ancient Greece. Or gaze into his room, and you will hear him joyfully recounting the dastardly deeds of the mad monk Rasputin or the royal gossip about Catherine the Great. What an incredible man! He is crazy, funny, wonderful, profound.”
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.