The school year ended, but it was the start of a new chapter for the media center at Plant City High School Thursday, June 9. It was renamed in honor of former teacher Leslie Rice, who died of cancer July 4, 2015.
The school held a ceremony with students, faculty and family.
“She just had a way with people, and people loved her,” Principal Susan Sullivan said. “That’s what I hear from every single student I talk to — that she had an individual connection with each one.”
Rice was the advanced placement language arts teacher at Plant City High School, a class she brought to the school.
Mrs. Rice’s students, whom she lovingly called her “brats,” remember her as being funny, sarcastic and able to make anyone feel special — even through the occasional throw of an eraser across the classroom.
Her “brats” were asked to stand during the ceremony.
“She loved you all very, very much,” her husband, Dale Rice, said. “She was very, very good at what she did. They didn’t call her 'the butcher' for nothing.”
The idea to name the library in honor of Rice came after her death. Former student, Hunter Gambrell, started a change.org petition to memorialize Rice.
At the memorial service in the Plant City High School auditorium, Superintendent Jeff Eakins and school board member Melissa Snively, pledged their help.
During the June 9 ceremony, students and faculty spoke in honor of Rice, along with Rice’s family. They joined together for refreshments inside of the media center.
Read more in the Friday, June 24, edition of the Plant City Times & Observer.