Rider's back on the job again
By By LYDIA GRIMES – Features writer
Alice Rider thought she had retired to stay at home and look after her grandchildren, but she was very wrong. She is back on the job doing what she was trained to do 20 years ago.
Rider worked in the Escambia County School system for 30 years after moving back to East Brewton in 1971. She taught school at W.S. Neal Elementary School the first year she was back and then moved to W.S. Neal High School where she retired in 2001.
But, this year when Carolyn Brown, long-time guidance counselor at W.S. Neal Middle School, had some health problems, Rider stepped in to help.
She says that this will be the only year that she can do the job, so next year there will be a new guidance counselor at W.S. Neal Middle School.
This is not the first time Rider has been a counselor in school. After teaching for about 15 years she went back to college and got a degree in counseling.
Rider is an Escambia County native. She attended school in the county system and graduated from W.S. Neal High School in 1965. She was the oldest of three children and the only girl in her family. She says she was an average student in school but she could be depended upon. She graduated from high school just in time for the opening of Jefferson Davis Junior College. She was in the first class before there was a college campus. Students attended classes at the Brewton United Methodist Church. She was at the groundbreaking ceremony representing W.S. Neal and was in the first graduating class.
She always knew that she wanted to be a schoolteacher and after completing two years at Jefferson Davis Junior College, she went to Mobile and finished getting her bachelor's degree at the University of South Alabama, graduating in 1969.
Her degree was in social science and she got her first job in Pensacola, Fla., at a vocational school for potentially at-risk students. She was there for only a year but it was the perfect timing. She met her husband, Robert Rider, there while he was substitute teaching. They were married in 1970 and moved to Vernon, Fla., for a year, before moving back to the Brewton area in 1971.
Elementary school was not where she wanted to be but the next year she filled a position at W.S. Neal High School teaching biology.
In the meantime, her children were born. Her son, Jason, is the oldest and she also has a daughter, Felicia. Her two children have made her the grandmother of three grandchildren to brag about.
After teaching at W.S. Neal for about 14 years, she decided she would like to go into counseling so she went back to college. She went to Troy State University at Montgomery and earned her master's degree in school counseling at the same time she was still teaching at the high school.
After all the years of teaching and counseling students at W.S. Neal High School, Rider decided to retire in 2001. She thought it would give her more time to spend with her grandchildren and do some of the things she didn't have the time for as long as she was at work.
She got involved with activities at her church, First Baptist Church of East Brewton.
Rider loves the work she is now doing at the school, but she is also looking forward to the time she can get back to her retirement.
She loves to cook and bake and try new recipes. She has a collection of Carnival Glass and also collects chicken boxes.