Humans of DGN: CTE teacher Marcos Rico


Ella Mancuso, Feature Editor

This school year, Marcos Rico was hired as a business C.T.E. teacher, teaching classes like financial accounting and introduction to business. Little did anyone know the impact Rico would create, as he introduced the first girls’ wrestling team in DGN history. Along with being the girls wrestling coach and a business teacher, Rico is a fan-favorite, beloved by his students; he even has his own MOD pizza named after him, “The Mr. Rico Pizza”

Rico began his business career in college, not only pursuing an education, but making his family proud by being the first of his name to graduate high school and go to college.

 “I believe I am a role model for my immediate and extended family with relation to all that I have achieved,” Marcos Rico said. “I grew up in the city of Chicago on the southwest side. I’m a minority male and was the first to graduate high school in my family; first to graduate college with a Bachelors in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting; I’m the first to get, not only one but two Masters degrees, one of which is in Secondary Education which allowed me to become a teacher and my second one was in Special Education. I’m also the first one in my family to hold a career. Both of my parents were factory workers,” Rico said.

As he transitioned into the business world, Rico struggled with connections in the business field, and couldn’t see himself as an accountant or businessman, despite how much he valued business. Rico continued coaching sports at Curie Metro High School while searching for his career path, something that influenced his life majorly. 

 “I was passionate about business and it caught my attention; the idea of learning about money and investment was something that had not been a permanent fixture in my life. I was curious about it and found a passion for it,” Marcos Rico said.  “However, regardless of this venture into corporate America, I also continued to coach at my alma mater [Curie] simultaneously, which I had been doing since I was 17. What I realized was there were individuals around me who shared a similar upbringing and as a result I gained value in seeing others work towards success and how I could also impact their lives. The coaching path just felt more ‘right’ than the business world. I never lost value in the business world, but I had more value in what I was doing through coaching and realized that there was the potential in doing both at the same time through becoming a teacher and teaching about business.“

Rico owes his passion for teaching to his students, who he always strives to give opportunities. Rico stuck with coaching as he transitioned to teaching, coaching a multitude of sports, and making a name for girls’ wrestling in Chicagoland. 

“My involvement in girls wrestling started 6 or 7 years ago with my first girls wrestler who had to practice with and had to compete against boys at Curie. There was not an official Illinois High School Athletic Association [IHSA] state wrestling competition for girls. There was a separate competition run through IWCOA [Illinois Wrestling Coaches & Officials Association], “ Marcos Rico said. “The young lady, in this instance, was just very interested in being able to wrestle. She wrestled all four years and she had the opportunity to be able to wrestle in college. Since her, that team always had girls wrestlers moving forward and usually not just one. That was my start. So while IHSA is now recognizing this sport for its second year, I have been familiar with it for much longer. I now have a daughter who will be a freshman next year and she also decided, on her own this past year, to join her middle school’s wrestling team. I owe it to her and the other young ladies to ensure that there is an equal opportunity for them to be able to access this sport and to be successful within it.”

Rico’s involvement in coaching has led to professional athletes and successful adults. His coaching style has led many athletes to stay motivated and strive for success, no matter the obstacle.

“While I was at Curie I also coached multiple other sports. I began as a football coach, but also went on to start a golf team. I coached soccer and I also coached Cross Country and Track & Field side-by-side with my wife, who was also a teacher at Curie for several years. In my last few years of coaching football, I coached a young man who would go on to play in the NFL and is now a coach at the University of Houston, named Reese Fleming,” Marcos Rico said. “However, I think one of the most impactful experiences was coaching Eduard Martinez in football who was legally blind; all he could see were shadows. During his freshman year with me at Curie he was a defensive lineman. While he had a disability, he did not let that stop him and ultimately probably worked harder than many of the other athletes that I had. As a coach, you always try to do the best for your student-athletes and I lived by that for him,” Rico said.

Although it is Rico’s first year at DGN, he has created an impact like no other. The introduction of a girls’ wrestling team allowed for female wrestlers to have an official outlet for their sport. Rico’s dedication to his students and athletes does not go unnoticed, and he always strives to create opportunity and motivate them for success.

“It doesn’t matter where you come from, the obstacles that are in front of you, big or small; and, the only limitations that you will ultimately have in life are the ones that you place upon yourself. Always try to be your best, so that you can live the life that you want and not the life that someone else has projected upon you or feels that you should live or have,” Marcos Rico said.