This is the second part of a three-part series detailing the success of three Morgan High School seniors—Logan Cameron, Jacob Rice and Kennedy Wortman—who have been appointed to U.S. Service Academies. Each student has received a four-year appointment to attend a military academy and will receive an education valued at over $400,000.
Jacob Abraham Rice-United States Air Force Academy
“Whatever Jacob Rice wants, he does what he needs to do to be successful,” Brennen Fuller, Morgan High teacher and coach, commented in an interview about Rice. This assessment sums up the achievements that Rice has accomplished while at Morgan High School and in receiving not only an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA), but also one to the United States Military Academy as well. Rice, who has declined his West Point appointment to take advantage of the Air Force Academy opportunity, will enter the USAFA this summer with the class of 2020.
“From the minute I met Jacob three years ago when I came to Morgan High, he told me one thing—he was going to the Air Force Academy. I worked with him in cross country, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and track, and he was always focused on improving his leadership, citizenship, scholarship and sportsmanship. He knew the importance of leadership and begged me to make him a captain of the cross country team his sophomore year,” Fuller continued. “This year he has served as a cross country captain, an FBLA officer and a track captain because he has earned it and developed the qualities of a leader. Watching him prepare, I had no doubt he would do whatever was necessary to get it.
“It was kind of a surreal moment when Jacob came rushing into my room and shouted, ‘I got in.’” Fuller recounted. “All of his hard work paid off, and I was very excited for him and proud. It was kind of a surreal moment for both of us after all the time that had been put in prepping for physical tests and other parts of the application process.”
Senator Mike Lee called Rice to tell him of his appointment. Rice was in his AP calculus class when he got the call and stepped out into the hall to answer. A teacher walking past heard the end of the conversation: “Thank you. Good-bye, Senator,” and commented to Rice, “If it had been any other student on the phone, I wouldn’t believe you had actually been talking with a senator.”
Rice received his nomination to the Air Force Academy from Senator Mike Lee and Congressman Rob Bishop. He also received a Presidential Nomination from President Obama. Congressman Bishop also nominated Rice to attend West Point and the Naval Academy as well.
At Morgan High, Jacob has appreciated the efforts of his teachers and coaches, especially Mr. Fuller, Mrs. Romero and Mr. Floyd. “They are all go-getters who foster an environment of ‘you can do whatever you want,’” Rice shared. “And Mrs. Valdez probably changed my life when she suggested that I go to Boys’ State.
“Mr. Fuller has been very supportive and has given me so many opportunities in FBLA, track and cross country. He has always pushed me to do my best,” Rice continued.
The past summer Rice attended American Legion Boys’ State and was selected to attend Boys’ Nation in Washington DC. “The people I met and the experience I had at Boys’ Nation inspired me to make a difference, not just sit back and wait for things to happen,” Rice extolled. While at Boys’ Nation, Rice was able to meet President Obama.
“At the Academy I am looking forward to challenging myself and expecting a lot,” Rice envisioned. “I have tried to prepare myself to do well and compete at the Academy by pushing myself and taking five AP classes and two college classes. I have had the opportunity to serve as a student school board member. I feel it is very important to get a student voice on the board. They have been very open and asked my opinion on matters where a student voice is important.”
Rice’s list of accomplishments is long and impressive. He is the Northeastern Sterling Scholar Winner in Speech, District Speech and Debate Student of the Year, and he has qualified and attended FBLA Nationals twice. Rice carries a 4.0 GPA and is president of the National Honor Society. He has been highly decorated on a state and region level as a four-year member of the speech and debate team and served as president. He was captain of the cross country team and the track team as well. He is one of the top hurdlers on the track team in both the 110m and 300m and recently placed fifth and sixth, respectively, at the Utah Valley University Invitational. Rice hopes to possibly participate in track at the Academy as a walk on.
Rice’s parents, Angie and Sandi, live in Mountain Green. A 1984 graduate of the Air Force Academy, Angie retired from the Air Force after flying KC-135s and rescue helicopters. Jacob would like to follow his parent’s example and fly the new F-35s, but he will also explore all of his options before choosing a major. After his four years at the Academy, Jacob has set the lofty goal to become a Rhoades scholar with his ultimate goal to be involved in public service.
The Rice family is dedicated to service. In addition to Angie’s Air Force service, Jacob’s brother, Josh, is enlisted in the Air Force and stationed at Davis-Monthan near Tucson, Ariz., with his wife, Alieda. Josh is currently deployed to the Middle East. Jacob’s sister, Danielle, is a registered nurse, and lives in West Point, Utah. After the Air Force, Angie, a veteran of three wars, became a special education teacher and has taught at Roy Elementary for 10 years, and Sandi works a teacher for the blind.
Rice was born at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, Alabama, and lived in England and Iceland while Angie was serving in the Air Force. When she retired from the Air Force, the family moved to Mountain Green as Jacob was starting first grade. He and his class were the first to graduate from fifth grade at Mountain Green Elementary.
It was in fifth grade that Rice decided that he wanted to attend the Air Force Academy. He wanted to “serve his country and get a good education.” He first visited the USAFA for a basketball sports camp in sixth grade. Since then he has gone back for basketball as well as track and field camps.
Jacob is grateful for the opportunities and experiences he has had at Morgan High and for the many teachers, coaches and administrators who have helped him prepare to take this next step in his life. “I will always remember the relationships that I have formed with fellow classmates, teachers and coaches. As I serve and attend the Air Force Academy, I plan to focus on what I can do best and do what I can do to succeed. I know the competition will be tough and basic training will be hard. Knowing that there is someone next to me going through the same thing will be empowering. Being a part of a team and knowing that I have the support of my team will be important.”