Rice builds leadership in through organizations and sports

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By Laura Clark

Joshua Rice is a freshman at Shelby County High School. He won fourth place in the 15-18 age group in the Kentucky Fitness Challenge in Louisville Jan. 9.

He competed in six events: flex-arm hang, step box, shuttle run, agility ladder and obstacle course.

Rice is also active in karate, the academic team, JROTC and Boy Scouts. He would like to attend MIT and become an engineer or architect.

Rice shared his experiences with The Sentinel-News.   On why he competed in the Challenge:

I’m in the JROTC at the high school, and I take karate at A1 Karate, so I’m in a lot of fitness stuff. I’m preparing to go to Philmont with the Boy Scouts in June.

I thought this would help me prepare for it [Philmont] and show where I was at.

I think it was a really good experience, because this wasn’t just strength, it was strength and balance and agility.

  On Philmont and Boy Scouts:

You hike for two weeks, and they give you a food drop every three days. You can go anywhere from 80 to 150 miles in two weeks. At one time you pack away about 50 pounds.

I’m a Star Scout, two below Eagle. I think its good leadership, which also goes into ROTC. And I like the community service and recognition it gives me.

I’m involved with Relay for Life, and I help Eagle scouts with their big projects.

  On the challenge stations:

First we did the flex arm hang, which is basically like a pull-up, but you stop when you’re up and see how long you can hang.

Then they had push ups with a foam mat, and your chest had to touch it. I think it was 6-inches [off the ground].

The step box – there’s a box one foot off the ground, and you step on and off it as many times as you can in one minute.

Then they had the shuttle run. You run down and grab a bean bag and repeat that three times and see how long it takes you.

Then there was an agility ladder. You do 10 jumping jacks, and there’s a ladder, and you have to put a foot in each square and go down and back.

The last one is an obstacle course. You run through a football net, which is where you have to step up really high through a grid with eight squares. You zigzag through three cones. You jump over two hurdles, go under one hurdle, then jump over two more. Then run down the track, go around a cone and turn around and come back in reverse for your time.

  On the easy and challenging stations:

Probably the push ups [were challenging] because I don’t usually go down all the way, I just bend my arms. So it’s hard to get back up. [He did 31 in a minute].

The agility ladder, if you keep your balance it’s pretty easy.


It’s been really fun. We learn about Marine Corp history. We do Marine drills. We do physical training, which is basically running and push ups.

I wanted to join because I’ve always liked ROTC and the military. With Scouts, I felt like I already had a lot of the leadership skills, but I wanted to see what they did differently. You get to do marksmanship training, too, with air rifles.

I’d like to advance through JROTC and become an officer.   On karate:

I’m a green belt, which is fifth rank. My goal is to get to black [six belts away]. Monday and Wednesday we do movements and focus and strength stuff. Friday is sparring, so we put on all the foam body stuff and fight. I just started back recently, so I’m still getting back into it.

I’d like to perfect being able to recognize what the other person is going to do, to know if they’re going to do a punch or a kick.

  On academic team:

With the kids we have, it gets pretty competitive. We do quick recall on teams of four. We’re doing pretty good. We’ve beaten a lot of the schools that we don’t usually beat.

Science [is his strength].   On disappointment:

With all the stuff I’m doing, I get used to competition and trying really hard at stuff. After a while, you figure out it isn’t a bad thing if you don’t do well. And if you do do well, that’s a good thing.

You won’t lose anything, but you’ll gain a lot.   On how he relaxes:

Just sit there. I go home and hold my cat, Chicken Nugget. I found the cat in my barn.