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BRIGHT FUTURES — Nederland’s Ethan Rice balances future in law, theatre arts

NEDERLAND — Ethan Rice is a senior at Nederland High School balancing two broad sides of the education spectrum — academics and arts.

During the day, the 17-year-old is a member of student council, National Honor Society, Terrific Nederland Teens and a student ambassador to the youths of Southeast Texas.

“I’ve always liked to be a leader,” Rice said. “I like delegating people and making decisions that not only affect my community, but my peers in school as well.”

However, after the bell rings at the end of the day, Rice sheds his leadership duties to read lines behind a curtain and stretch his vocal chords on stage.

Ethan Rice reads over a script as he prepares for the upcoming UIL One Act competition. 

Rice developed a love for fine arts through his dad, Randy, who played the bass in high school.

“I’ve always been an appreciator of music,” he said. “I love music, and that’s mainly because of my dad. He always played the bass around me and introduced me to music like Elton John and Billy Joel. Those are some of my idols in music.”

Rice joined concert choir in sixth grade, adding the piano to his repertoire two years later.

“I really fell in love with choir in middle school,” he said. “So when I got to the high school level, I knew immediately it was something I wanted to do. That’s what started putting me on the path today, in being really music active.”

Ethan Rice has been playing the piano since sixth grade. 

Rice participates in the Nederland concert choir and is often a key actor during musical productions.

Nederland High School’s Theatre Arts teacher Roxane Gray recruited Rice his sophomore year for their musical, Oklahoma.

“(Rice) has really grown into a conscientious, hard working actor,” she said. “He challenges his fellow cast and crew members to rise to a level of excellence so that he can take pride in the accomplishment of the whole ensemble. I have enjoyed watching him grow. He is also an accomplished musician as well as an actor. He will go on to do wonderful things.”

Rice plays the piano at churches across Southeast Texas, including St. Charles in Nederland, 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 that I am worshipping through the skill that I have.”

In addition to his musical and theatre arts talent, Rice is also in the top 10 percent of his class maintaining a 4.0 GPA and a full class load.

Nederland High School senior Ethan Rice played Lord Farquaad in the theatre department’s most recent play, Shrek. 

His love for history, reading and research led him to pursue becoming an attorney.

“I’ve definitely got the arts side of me, where I’m in choir, theatre and whatnot, but there is a certain part of me that likes history,” he said. “I actually really like to read and research. I feel like law school would be a good path for me to go on with the skills that I have.”

This fall, Rice will begin his journey to pursue a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Texas A&M. He still plans on being involved with music and local theatre arts.

Before graduating high school, Rice said he simply wants to soak in the blessings his home has to offer.

“A lot of times, especially in small towns, we overlook the blessings that we have, like community,” he said. “When you move to a big town such as College Station, you may not find that sense of community. I want to spend more time with my close friends, absorb everything we have here and be thankful for every opportunity.”