Rick Price remembers … he remembers when he walked 12 miles from Linwood, which is near Buffalo, so he could practice with the Davenport West High School football team at Brady Street Stadium.
He will think of that today when he is a speaker at the kickoff of the Celebration of Education for 300 students, parents and educators at the Radisson Quad-City Plaza in Davenport.
He will remember, too, when he regularly walked nine miles to West at a time when school buses were not running from the long-gone Linwood School and the three-room cottage where he grew up without water and indoor plumbing.
PRICE, 68, is one of Colorado’s most respected educators and civic leaders. He has devoted 38 years to education. Still, the local ties are binding. On Oct. 2, this member of the Class of 1963 was named to West's Hall of Honor.
There are many stories of kids from the other side of the tracks who made good. Price is from the other side of the Linwood gravel pits where his dad worked.
“He is one of the Quad-Cities' most remarkable success stories,” says Don Fisher, who retired as principal at Davenport Central. Fisher has followed Price's achievements since getting to know him as a youth.
“To walk to Brady Stadium for practice, I’d buy some doughnuts and a quart of orange juice after leaving home,” Price says. “When I got halfway to the stadium, I’d eat some doughnuts and drink some juice. I’d hide the rest in bushes to have something to eat on the walk back home.”
AT WEST, he was a good student who won seven athletic letters in football, basketball and baseball. He was president of the student council and king of the annual Spinster Spree.
“I knew that here was a kid who could make it big time, so I once told him to put on his Sunday clothes and shine his shoes,” says Fisher, who was then at West. “He didn’t know that I was taking him to the University of Northern Iowa. His parents didn’t know where I was driving their son at 6 a.m., but they told him, ‘If Mr. Fisher is taking you somewhere, it must be a good place.’”
Fisher convinced admissions and athletics representatives that Rick some day would be an honor student and captain of the football team. He got a full-ride scholarship and and indeed was football team captain. He also earned his bachelor's and masters degrees.
This led to series of teaching, coaching, assistant principal and principal assignments in and around the Quad-Cities. Eventually, Colorado Springs beckoned this brilliant man to be its assistant high school principa, and later middle school principal for 20 years. He served eight years on the school board and, now retired, has formed one of the nation’s first school-based health centers.
RICK PRICE speaks humbly, but says he couldn’t stop grinning when learning of his West Hall of Honor selection. “I thought woo-woo-woo when told of the honor. Me? Not me?”
He is regularly called upon to address students and always emphasizes the importance of good associations: “Be close to your parents. Associate with only the good kids; stay away from the bad ones who will have a terrible influence on your life. The road to success is good associations.”
When he talks of roads, he likely is thinking of the long roads he walked to high school, always, he remembers, carrying a heavy pack of books.