Myrta Fair Craig Press Box dedicated

MYRTA FAIR CRAIG PRESS BOX - Among those in attendance for the official sign dedication for the Myrta Fair Craig Press Box at Rayne High School were, front row, from left, Grace Hayes Craig, Bob Craig, B.I. Moody, Fair Craig Hash, Kim Craig Jones, Jim Craig Sr. representing their late dad, Jim Craig, and RHS Principal Wendall Prudomme; second row, Bobby Craig, Dr. Ed Milligan, Milo Nickel, Laura King Milligan, Reggie Milligan; top row, Lindsey Milligan Beggs, Emerson Milligan and Peyton Milligan. Attending but absent from picture are Sherry Day Craig, Baylor Beggs, Sawyer Beggs, Bo and Debbie Clement King, Kerri and Michael King, and Craig and Angela King, and grandchildren, Caleb King, Addison and Aidan Gonzalez. (Acadian-Tribune Photo by Lisa Soileaux)

Mrs. Myrta Fair Craig, long-time Rayne High School supporter

Rayne High long-time supporter recognized

 

By Lisa Soileaux

Action was taken 20 years ago to name the press box at Rayne High School’s Wolf Stadium the “Myrta Fair Craig Press Box,” but it wasn’t until Saturday, Aug. 23, that the official sign was dedicated by family members and friends.

In recognition of her many years of service to Rayne High School, in addition to her service to Rayne and the surrounding area, the Rayne High School Alumni Association recommended the press box at Wolf Stadium be officially named the “Myrta Fair Craig Press Box” in July of 1994, shortly following the death of Mrs. Craig.

Following the recommendation by the club and a resolution adopted by the Rayne City Council that spring, the Acadia Parish School Board officially named the press box at its July of 1994 meeting.

The resolution, unanimously adopted by the council in April of 1994, read: “Be it resolved that, in consideration of the years of dedication to the City of Rayne in her promotion of the City and her interest in the furtherance of athletics and scholastic standards, it is hereby submitted that the press box at Rayne High School Stadium be named to recognize this dedication and in memory of Myrta Fair Craig, said press box to be named the “Myrta Fair Craig Press Box.”

Despite the official action taken by the club, city council and the school board in 1994, a sign was never installed — until this weekend’s activities.

Installed just above the press box windows by Rayne Plastic Signs, the distinguished purple and white sign overlooks the football field. The installation and dedication was completed just in time for the start of the 2014 football season.

“Mother just loved Rayne High,” noted Fair Craig Hash, daughter of Mrs. Craig, during the Saturday morning dedication. “She did everything she could, even after her children and grandchildren graduated from there, to help the school in any way possible.”

As family members were reminiscing of the events and activities Mrs. Craig was involved in and provided for Rayne High School and its students, special times were remembered:

• From their early years at The Tribune, Mrs. Craig and her husband Hugh followed all the sports and would write of the events and publicize them in the newspaper to build up interest and support of the programs.

• As the war years began with students and their families deeply affected, Mrs. Craig did much to help the programs, especially the 6-man football program at the school.

There were no team uniforms at that time and the school had no money to purchase any because of money restraints of World War II. Some of the players did not even have football shoes and played barefoot on the large grassy area where the football stadium now stands.

Seeing the need, Mrs. Craig gathered $18.75 from the community and concerned citizens to purchase a War Bond for a raffle to raise the money the team needed. Money was very short for the newspaper, and for businesses, as well as residents of the town; however, with much publicity and urging towards organizations, raffle chances on the bond were sold.

When the name of the raffle winner was pulled, there was enough funds to purchase uniforms, shoes, and other needs for the team. Needless to say, those new uniforms looked good when taking the 6-man state championship picture.

• In addition to the bond raffle, Mrs. Craig provided transportation to the out-of-town football games for the team. She and the coach begged gasoline stamps (all goods and supplies were low during war-time limitations were only available for purchase with stamps from ration books) to get the gas to take the team to games.

It also meant that friends, parents of team members, and interested supporters would exchange bad tires for better tires to make the road trips. Remember, the speed limit in the 1940s was only 35 mph, meaning long hours on the road. 

Mrs. Craig transported as many players as she could squeeze into her car, as did the coach. The trip was often made with three people seated in the back and football uniforms and equipment packed in the trunk. It was an adventure to arrive to the games and the reward was to see the Wolves win their games on the road, as well as at home.

• At the end of the 1945 football season, a problem arose by the commissioner of the La. High School Athletic Association that would have prevented the Wolves from participating in the state championship playoffs.

Mrs. Craig assisted Miss Irene Petitjean, RHS interim principal since Principal William Sonnier was called to serve his country during World War II, during a meeting with the commissioner. The problem was resolved, the Wolves did play, and eventually brought home Rayne High’s only football state championship.

• It was also noted by the elder generation in attendance for the dedication of their memories when football players were “recruited” by Miss Irene Petitjean for yard work needed on the school grounds. Their help was needed because male workers were serving their country during World War II.

Mrs. Craig’s son, Bob, a member of the 6-man state championship team, remembered those times well and noted, “The work was done with pride with everyone helping their school and neighbors when needed. We all had to pull together while our relatives were fighting for freedom.”

• Mrs. Craig was a permanent fixture on the sidelines of the Rayne High football games, camera in hand. In addition, she also edited stories and wrote by-lines for the Tribune.

She lived and enjoyed football, as well as all other Rayne High sports. Her inclusion into the publicity for the sporting programs were seen in the editions of the newspaper for many decades. Even when she was able to hire a sports writer and photographer, she was involved in reading and editing football stories.

She provided much much publicity for the athletic department, the athletic supporters, and whatever else she could do to promote the sports programs at Rayne High School.

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