Alumni Q&A: Rice Brothers are Together Again After Separate High Schools, Colleges

Before reading the Q&A on Isaiah '13, Malachi '13, and Solomon Rice '11 check out their journey after Orchard and where they currently work/live in the photo below.

The Orchard School

Your teachers and coaches have shared wonderful memories about each of you. You’ve been gone nearly a decade; what memories come rushing back about The Orchard School?

Malachi: I think about all of the outstanding teachers that helped mold me into who I am today. They really cared about my development both inside and outside of the classroom. I learned some of my most valuable lessons while at Orchard that I still carry with me to this day.
Isaiah: Whether I was playing Capture the Flag during Field Day, tapping trees for maple syrup, or bellowing “The 12 Days of Christmas” with my classmates during Winter Pageants, the many traditions that Orchard celebrated during my time as a student provided me with some of my fondest childhood memories.

Solomon: Orchard was the place where I learned how to create genuine bonds, collaborate with others, and think outside of the box. Orchard provided me with a support system of teachers and students that were all invested in my development and personal growth. I distinctly remember Field Day, tapping trees for maple syrup, after-school sports, and Kids Connect.

How do you feel Orchard prepared you for high school, college, and your careers?

Malachi: There are so many values that I started to pick up during my experience at Orchard. There are so many teachers and coaches that played a part in shaping me. I developed my passion for sports and my competitive nature there. I started to embrace my curiosity and ambition to learn about new things, and I became courageous enough to try new things. 

Isaiah: Orchard is where I fostered my intellectual curiosity and adopted learning habits that have served me very well in both my academic and professional careers. Orchard taught me about servanthood, compassion, and empathy which, I think we can agree, are all things we need more of in this world. Orchard shaped me into a well-rounded individual with the confidence to take on the challenges that I would face in the years to come and the humility to adapt over time. Through the tutelage of teachers and coaches Andre Kirtz, Lisa Pryor, Justin Burris, and Steve Thompson, I was able to develop the intangibles of resiliency, determination, and grit that I largely credit for my success today. 

Solomon: Orchard allowed me to establish my core values and granted me exposure to a multitude of experiences at an early age, which helped shape my intellectual curiosity and diversity of thought that have been beneficial to me at each stage of my life.

You’ve all accomplished so much — you were Division I athletes with strong GPAs at tough schools and now have successful careers. Tell us the one thing of which you are most proud. 

Malachi: The most significant is probably the initiative that my Georgia Tech men’s basketball team and I were able to jumpstart last year, getting a mandatory day off for all Division I student-athletes to convey the significance of voting and to allow student-athletes to do so given their busy schedules. My team and I also won our first ACC tournament in over a decade and earned a bid to the NCAA tournament, which we hadn’t done in over a decade either. To cap it off, I graduated in Spring 2021. So, I think it would be accurate to say that I am most proud of “my 2021.”

Isaiah: The accomplishment I’m most proud of is being selected to the All-Southeastern Conference Community Service Team three times at Vanderbilt University. Servanthood has always been close to my heart, and I thank Orchard for introducing me to the value of serving others wherever, whenever, and however I can. While a student-athlete at Vanderbilt, I started initiatives to help in-need families in Nashville in a variety of ways: through Dancing ’Dores, I encouraged athletes to leverage their influence in the community to aid in campus-wide fundraising efforts that supported families from the local children’s hospital. In its inaugural year, Dancing ’Dores raised over $30,000 and has since become a Vanderbilt Athletics tradition. Ultimately, life is about the positive impact we are able to have on others, so while I am proud of my All-SEC team selections, I am most proud of the positive impact that those accolades represent.  

Solomon: The aspect of my life that I am most proud of is the long-term friendships I have been able to create and maintain at each stage of my life. With the help of my brothers, and others I met along the way, I have been able to accomplish things that would not be possible without such a great group of people. Orchard not only helped me to understand that I am only as good as the people around me, but it also blessed me with a great support system. 

Your social justice work makes us proud to call you Orchard Owls. What compelled you to take action?

Malachi: The George Floyd tragedy was the last straw for me. I was so frustrated. So enraged. So disappointed. I knew I wanted to do something to help make a change and to help steer things the right way. Voting is the fundamental way to bring a change in this country. On a call with my teammates and coaches discussing the tragedy, I urged everyone to get out and vote. To me, protesting but deciding not to vote can be thought of as hypocritical. My team embraced my transparency, and we all registered to vote as a team. Given how many of us were not registered or hadn’t voted before, I knew I wanted to deliver that same message to all student-athletes. Through the support of my coaches and Georgia Tech, we were able to do just that. But, my speaking out can also be attributed to my Orchard experience as well. Orchard is the place that first cultivated my empathy as a person, the place that taught me to always stand up for what is just.

Isaiah: I was extremely proud of Malachi for not being afraid to speak up and use his voice to effect change. I remember engaging in many discussions with Malachi during the height of the civil unrest after George Floyd’s killing. We talked about starting a voting initiative at our respective schools. It brought me great joy to see Malachi execute on that idea and expand its reach to the entire NCAA. 

The Orchard School

Read the entire ESPN story here.

Being as close as you are, it must’ve been hard to be apart for high school and college. What’s life like now that you all live together in New York?

Malachi: It’s a relief and a joy to be able to live with my brothers again. They are my best friends, and I missed being able to spend time with them daily. Aside from work, most of our days are spent reminiscing, exploring the city, or attending Knicks and Nets basketball games.

Isaiah: Being “alone” for the first time when I went to college was an adjustment, although I truly believe being apart for college strengthened the bonds that we have with each other now, because it forced us to value the time that we were able to spend together during holiday breaks.
Solomon: As close as I was to my brothers, it was challenging to move away to college in New York City. My brothers have always been my best friends and having them close makes life much easier and more enjoyable. Now that we are all in the same city, it feels like we are back home.

Read the Indy Star article on the boys from 2016 about separating for high school

You’re all in the corporate world. When did you become interested in business?

Malachi: For me, I think business was always in the cards. I enjoy the competitive nature, the fast pace, and the high-pressure situations.

Isaiah: After my freshman year in college, Malachi and I started an entrepreneurial endeavor that involved us reselling rare, heavily sought-after sneakers. The business was fairly successful and triggered my aspirations to work in the corporate business world, where I could expand on the business acumen I was able to acquire as an entrepreneur. After that summer, I chose to major in economics and minor in business. 

Solomon: Business became interesting to me in an economics class during my senior year of high school. I enjoyed learning about the economy and specifically how companies function within different economic environments. Throughout college, my interest shifted from the economy to the businesses themselves, where I was most interested in how different companies grow over time and why certain businesses are better positioned for success than others.


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