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Student’s Nomination Leads to STEM Teacher Winning Award

2/20/2024

Thanks to a nomination by one of his students, Cooper Junior High STEM teacher Micah Rice was recently recognized for his leadership.

The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Dallas Chapter review board selected Rice as a recipient of the 2024 ICNA Award for Teacher Leadership.

Teacher receives award

He was nominated for the honor by his student, eighth-grader Misbah Syed. 

“He is an amazing teacher and friend,” Syed said.

Student poses for photo.

Rice was presented with the award, including an Apple iPad, during a ceremony Feb. 17. 

“The award ceremony was very nice,” Rice said. “They read what our students wrote about us. They continually stated that the Islamic community holds teachers in high regard, right under parents.”

Syed said that Mr. Rice not only provides rigorous lessons but also enhances the student experience at CJHS through care and inclusion. 

“Just like our beautiful Islamic teachings, he's like the rice that brings everyone together!” Syed said. “Whether it's setting up cool gatherings or having important talks, Mr. Rice is always there, encouraging us to appreciate and understand one another.”

Student and teacher work together.

Rice conveyed similar sentiments about Syed. He said that Syed is always inquisitive about every STEM challenge presented to him. 

“His attitude towards learning and the STEM classroom is always energetic and infectious,” Rice said. “He is such a wonderful young man.”

In his nomination, Syed said that Mr. Rice values and respects the unique things that make each of them special. 

“He's not just a teacher; he's our diversity role model, making our school a place where everyone feels valued and connected,” Syed said. “Mr. Rice does not differentiate based on color, religion, race, or ethnicity. On the contrary, the more you talk to him, the more he will ask and learn about our unique differences.”

Rice says that the small things, such as taking time to listen to a student’s ideas or beliefs or asking questions about their thoughts, have a big impact.

“It is an honor to receive this award and be recognized for doing what we teachers do every day,” Rice said. “I’m blessed to have the ability to teach wonderful students and have an administration that backs me when I come up with ideas or just listens to me.” 

This year marks Rice’s 16th year in education, 14 of which have been in Wylie ISD.