The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

‘The Ultimate Titan:’ After 56 years, Larry ‘Mr. T.C.’ Trice Starts A New Journey

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Larry Trice has influenced thousands of students in his time at ACHS. From left: Clark Mercer ‘98, Connor Morhardt ‘98, Trice. / James Libresco for Theogony.

When Larry Trice began his career at Alexandria City Public Schools in 1968, he knew he had found his passion. Fifty-six years later, he’s finally stepping away. 

From an early age, Trice was drawn to education. He didn’t know what subject he wanted to instruct, but he was determined to become a teacher. Growing up at his grandparents’ home in Richlands, Virginia, Trice enjoyed learning. Both his parents were educators, and he attended John Handley High School in Winchester, where he was editor of the yearbook and manager of the track team.

As a teenager, Trice got involved with the Future Farmers of America. He became a counselor at an FFA leadership summer camp in 1965, and has since risen in the ranks to camp director. This year, he anticipates a “record crowd” of campers.

“It’s fun,” Trice said about the camp in an interview. “I’m exhausted by the end of it, but it’s fun.”

In his early years at the camp, Trice met Alex Covington, who is still a close friend.

“I have never met anyone more dedicated, hard-working or selfless in his desire to nurture young people,” Covington said in an email to Theogony, also claiming that Trice did not accept any salary from the camp for many years. “He has dedicated his whole adult life to the benefit of your high school in Alexandria and to … continuous summer camp education for the youth of Virginia.”

When camp wasn’t in session, Trice attended Hampden-Sydney College, majoring in math. He then pursued a graduate degree in education at the University of Virginia, where he joined a program allowing students to work part-time as teachers. The district Trice chose? ACPS. In 1968, he started teaching math at George Washington High School (now-middle school) and never looked back. 

“Teaching certainly has got challenges,” Trice said. “But I always knew it’s what I wanted to do. It’s rewarding.”

 

Trice couldn’t decide which subject he wanted to teach until well into his undergraduate education. Eventually, he opted to pursue math. / Photos from 1973 T.C. Williams yearbook.

After transferring to T.C. Williams (now-Alexandria City High School) the next year, Trice would spend the following 37 years instructing math. Among the thousands of students he taught was Connor Morhardt ‘98, who was so touched by Trice that he traveled to Alexandria from New York City to attend a ceremony celebrating Trice’s career. 

“This school was built on Trice’s back,” Morhardt said. “Everyone who has graduated from here owes a piece of what they’ve done to Trice. Whether he was a teacher, a mentor, or supported any of the many activities he does, he is the ultimate Titan.”

Trice impacted students in many ways, from having the “firmest handshake in the game,” according to Luke Principato ‘05, to being a “fantastic role model,” according to Jeff Shapiro ‘76.

“His devotion to the school and the students was unparalleled,” Shapiro wrote in a tribute video played at the ceremony. “We loved him dearly. I also served as an officer in the Key Club and will never forget his support and leadership.”

Others at the ceremony agreed.

“Mr. Trice is a gem of ACPS,” said Executive Principal Alexander Duncan. He is a rock of ACHS. He is one of those people who I label as irreplaceable. I don’t know what we’re going to do without him, however, I wish him all the best; he has earned his rest. We are all going to miss him.”

The retirement ceremony for Trice featured former and current students, administrators and central office personnel, in addition to family members. / James Libresco for Theogony.

“He probably has done more than anyone else for T.C. Williams and now Alexandria City High School,” said John Porter, former principal of T.C. Williams for 22 years. “He’s the glue that holds it all together. In addition to being a great math teacher, all the extra things that he did wouldn’t have gotten done without him. He’s just terrific.”

One of the most significant “extra things” Trice coordinated was the Titan Expo, an outdoor community event hosted in Chinquapin circle featuring live music from student bands and carnival activities hosted by school clubs, for 19 years. The event, which was typically attended by hundreds of community members, partnered with the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria and generated dozens of scholarships for students.

“His contributions, efforts and skills were all essential and undervalued by all of us who didn’t even realize we depended upon him to keep our activities moving forward,” said Sarah Zapolsky, project manager of the SFA. “ACHS is a better place because he has shaped it.”

In addition to managing the Titan Expo, Trice led several school clubs, most notably the Student Government Association and Key Club. His effect on those programs was felt by many, and he became known by students and staff as “Mr. T.C.”

“You exemplified what it means to be a servant leader,” said Clark Mercer ‘98, a former member of student government, in the video tribute. “That’s the notion of putting other people’s needs before your own. You’ve done that for nearly six decades in Alexandria and touched the lives of thousands of students, and I’m one of them.”

“Mr. Trice is invaluable in the planning and execution of our events,” said Matthew Henry, Ed.D, an English teacher who currently runs leadership and student government. “He has always come with solutions to any conflict in our planning and is simply one of the nicest people at ACHS … Mr. Trice is one of the few ‘must knows’ in the building. He will be missed greatly.”

“He was always very informative and helpful with SGA matters,” said Maeve O’Brien, junior class treasurer. “It’s nice that he was willing to help us even with his busy schedule.”

“[Trice] has been instrumental in helping to run things around this building for many years,” said science teacher Lexye Hearding ‘98 in the video tribute.

Trice taught Hearding’s 10th grade math class and oversaw her role as treasurer of Key Club.

“[He] helped me out,” Hearding said. “I’ll just miss him a lot.”

When the King St. campus of ACHS was rebuilt in 2007, Trice transitioned from teaching to a new position: building-use coordinator. In that role, he oversaw all school events, managed facilities and kept the school schedule. Although he was only paid a part-time salary, Trice was often found at work as late as 10 p.m., ensuring events ran smoothly.

“Mr. Trice’s spirit and energy is built into the walls of ACHS,” said Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt, Ed.D. “He is the true definition of a Titan. His heart and his passion for the staff and students goes far beyond anything I could imagine.”

Trice and Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt chat at the ceremony. / James Libresco for Theogony.

Particularly challenging to schedule were school plays and their accompanying rehearsals, but that was no problem for Trice.

“Larry, it’s been a wonderful 25 years,” said drama teacher Leslie Jones, who co-leads school productions, in the video tribute. “It’s been a pleasure working with you. I appreciate all the scheduling and re-scheduling and talks that we have had. I am going to miss you dearly.”

Although his office was moved around the building several times, Trice became a beacon of support and knowledge to colleagues wherever he was.

“I walked through the doors of T.C. Williams in 1998 not knowing anyone,” said Patty Moran, lead administrative assistant, in the video tribute. “I met you a couple of weeks later, and the rest is history.”

“If you didn’t know something, Mr. Trice would always know,” said Dean of Students Rhea Butler. “He’s the ‘go-to.’”

“Mr. Trice has been such a huge inspiration,” said senior Torenzo Ricks, a student representative to the school board who helps manage the main office. “He’s literally the backbone of the school. It’s been an absolute pleasure getting to know him and working with him.”

Ricks said a memory he will cherish is listening to Trice’s music.

“He either had Celine Dion or Whitney Houston playing on his radio in his office,” Ricks said. “I loved it.”

One person in the main office Trice worked closely with is Michael Burch, who shares some of the same event managing responsibilities in his role as lead administrator for operations.

“It’s been so great working with you,” Burch said in the video tribute. “I’ve always enjoyed how much you smile and how much you enjoy your work. Your retirement is well deserved. Congratulations!” 

In the coming years, Trice plans to explore several hobbies. Following a “fun” spring break cruise in the Caribbean, he’s “definitely” excited to venture around the globe. Additionally, he hopes to spend time going on walks and volunteering around Virginia. 

When asked to be interviewed for this article, Trice was hesitant. Much of his work is behind the scenes, and only a few people know the significance of those contributions. However, this is no mistake. Covington, Trice’s friend of over 60 years put it best:

[Trice] would be the last person in the world to seek personal recognition or glory,” Covington said. “But I honestly know of no one who deserves it more.”

Staff Writers Max Carpenter, Rozalia Finkelstein and Cayden Booker contributed research to this article.

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