Chelmsford High School Alumni Association
Richard E. Luce
Awarding Criteria: This scholarship will be awarded to a deserving college bound senior who has demonstrated a passion for and plans to pursue the sciences.
The Richard E. Luce Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a deserving Chelmsford High School senior who has demonstrated a passion for, and plans to pursue, the sciences. To understand the mission of this award, one needs to know the man.
Young Mr. Luce began teaching the sciences at Chelmsford High in 1965. It was a time when the USA was at war in Vietnam, protesting and questioning authority was commonplace, voting had finally become a civil right for all Americans, and before there was an Internet. During the chaotic world of the 60's, it was clear that the sciences and science education would provide light at the end of the tunnel.
Mr. Luce would prove to be the perfect educator for that time, and the next three and a half decades. He knew how to motivate kids to want to learn the sciences—that is the gift of a great teacher. There was little separation between the formal classroom and informal out-of-doors teaching for Richard Luce. Whether it was in the front of a classroom wearing a tie or in a greenhouse covered in dirt, his students were exposed to the true life sciences. While his passion was teaching science, Mr. Luce's classroom was the world of adventures and experiences.
Richard E. Luce was a man of many skills. He could fix anything, build anything, and create anything. He was well known for his generosity to share and patiently teach these skills to anyone who wanted to "play" with him—he commonly used the word "play" for any activity. It didn't matter what your IQ was, where you were on the socio-economic scale, or what your behavior history was. His passion for teaching transcended all traditional categories. If he needed to break or bend the rules to get the job done, he wouldn't look back—his students were his focus. While on the road to science education, he helped many students navigate the trials and difficulties in life itself. His unconventional teaching style became legendary and well respected among fellow teachers and school administration. He was a teacher's teacher. He was willing to try any new program or teach different courses. He was a true adventurer and innovator.
The day never ended at the last period. Mr. Luce refereed wrestling, conducted field trips, and engaged his own family in the teaching of his students. Students were introduced and came to know his teacher-wife Sandy and daughter Ann Marie (who became a teacher) and son Chris. Whenever there was an opportunity to mix all his worlds, Mr. Luce would take advantage of that opportunity.
Richard E. Luce passed away in 2016 shortly after adventuring in South America. He lived a full, adventurous life, was a great dad and teacher to his children, and affected the lives of thousands of students. It is with that passion for the sciences and life that his memorial scholarship is awarded to the deserving student. Consider Mr. Richard E. Luce a little wind on your back as you discover what life has to offer.