Rice Field Sign Newly Restored by Midway Ag Students

An iconic piece of Midway history has returned to its original home looking better than ever thanks to students in Midway High School’s Agriculture Mechanics program.

Red and blue sign.

The newly restored Rice Field sign was officially unveiled on Friday, May 3, at Woodway Elementary School. Woodway Elementary sits on the site of the original Midway High School football field, Rice Field, where the sign hung under the old scoreboard. 

The restoration process was initiated in January 2022 when Midway High School Agriculture Science Teacher Shawn Rejcek was asked if his students were interested in taking on the project. Midway Ag students responsible for the restoration gained hands-on experience managing every step of the process, from welding and painting to even installing the sign. 

Students moving sign.
Midway High School Ag students prepare to install the restored Rice Field sign.

“Altogether, 300 to 400 hours went into restoring the sign and upwards of 30 kids have placed their hands on it at some point,” Rejcek said. “We tried to make everything just like it would have looked.”

For Midway High School alumni Jerry Rice (class of 1961) and his wife, Joyce (class of 1960), the sign is about more than a fresh coat of paint; it represents history, family, and a dedication to education. Rice Field was named in honor of Jerry’s father, M.T. Rice. 

Alumni unwrap sign.
Midway High School alumni Jerry Rice (class of 1961) and his wife, Joyce (class of 1960), unwrap the newly restored Rice Field sign.

M.T. and his wife, Sarah, arrived at Midway schools in 1948, initially serving as high school principal and coach before assuming the role of superintendent, guiding Midway's educational landscape until his retirement in 1974—around the time they dedicated Rice Field in his name. M.T. is also known for establishing Midway's annual winter holiday basketball tournament. The M.T. Rice Tournament has been held since 1962.

The Rice Field sign, which sat near the Woodway Elementary School building, was previously restored by the Midway High School class of 2010 but has been in need of a facelift in recent years. Following its latest restoration, the historic sign was moved to a location on the campus where it can now be more easily seen from the street.

Students and alumni smile standing in front of sign.
Rusted, faded sign before restoration.
Rice Field sign prior to recent restoration.
May 3, 2024