A junior from Darlington, South Carolina, Michael Rice is an outstanding contributor to our community engagement programs while holding multiple leadership roles in The Citadel's Corps of Cadets, maintaining Dean's List grades, and serving in the United States Army Reserve. Michael is a Criminal Justice major with a minor in African American History, and applies his curricular, co-curricular, and personal experiences toward exceptional service to high risk youth in Title I elementary and middle schools.
Michael's commitment to serving high-risk youth is informed by his own experiences, and recalls the support family, school, and community members offered throughout his own difficult high school years. Michael and his sister are the first of their family to attend college. They pursued higher education despite the stress and disruption of losing their mother when Michael was sixteen. Just as he was encouraged to overcome obstacles and reach his potential, he extends himself daily to encourage nearby African American students living in poverty to pursue their dreams.
To raise a child into a good young adult, it takes more than parental effort. Raising a child "takes a village" filled with family, friends, teachers, ministers, and mentors. In my youth, I noticed how fortunate I was to live in a double parent household, which is not a common occurrence today. After tragically losing my mother at the age of 16, I quickly learned how it felt to be lost, confused, and deprived of a special part of life. This was the worst experience I have ever had. However, many children go their whole lives without a parent. Beyond that, many are deprived of other things that are crucial to success. Children need all kinds of support to be successful in a world that is becoming increasingly unforgiving. I faced some adversity through losing a parent, but many others face more adversity than I can ever imagine. Sometimes a child needs a helping hand, a tutor, or an inspiring motivator. I try to be a role model and encourage other college students to do the same, so that more children will believe in themselves and strive to be the best person they can, regardless of the situation they are in.