Monday, May 20, 2024

Granbury Masonic Lodge presents Lamar Awards to three GISD students


Three Granbury High School students received a prestigious honor during the Granbury Independent School District’s board of trustees meeting April 22.

Students Quinn King, Andrew Nickell and Jonathan Hutchison were each presented with the Lamar Award by the Granbury Masonic Lodge #392.

The mission of Granbury Lodge #392 is to be recognized in the community as a men's fraternity that supports community events and interest, charitable organizations and education by making good men of good moral character better through friendship and brotherly love enhanced by Masonic education and time-honored rituals, according to its website.

"Most of y'all may or may not know the history of education in the state of Texas,” Masonic Lodge Representative Dudley Raybon said, during the meeting. “You would not be sitting where you are if it were not for the Masons. In the state of Texas, we began education.”

Raybon explained that famous Masons included Sam Houston, William Travis, Teddy Roosevelt and George Washington.

"Basically, it originally started in England, during the days when they built great cathedrals in France and Europe," he said. “Most of you may or may not know that we give annually throughout the United States $365 million to education throughout this country. We're very busy with the philanthropic work and that's a very important part of it, and the biggest news is we want to give men the opportunity to work with men and become better at what they are. The old biblical saying is ‘It takes men to make men better,’ but it has no difference to females. It is simply a logic that does work, and we encourage them to work on that a great deal.”

The Lamar Award of Excellence was established in 1988, under the leadership of Grand Master Graham Childress. Named after the second president of the Republic of Texas Mirabeau B. Lamar, the Lamar Award is presented to students and educators in recognition of outstanding personal achievement in academics, citizenship, community service or sports.

"Mirabeau Lamar was an unusual human being,” Raybon said. “He was very big on education and did not like the public education system. He was raised in Georgia in the 1800s and became a self-educated man by seeking out teachers to teach him.”

Lamar was a freemason and is known by some as “the father of Texas education.” His work while president resulted in the passage of the first law mandating public education, according to the Billie Mosse Masonic Lodge website located in Denison.

Additionally, Lamar convinced the legislature to set aside three leagues — more than 13,000 acres of land — for each Texas county for the benefit of public schools and an additional 50 leagues for the support of two universities: Texas Tech University in Lubbock and Texas A&M University in College Station. These land designations — along with the founding of the Texas State Library — laid the foundation for a statewide public school system in Texas.

"His focus was education,” Raybon said. “He wanted to be sure people had a chance to learn. He faced hardships. He lost a wife, he lost kids, but he always put education up front because he believed if you were not educated or prepared, you could not contribute to society.”

Raybon explained that the Granbury Masonic Lodge goes through a process every year where teachers and parents can nominate and vote for students or faculty members they think deserve the honor of receiving the Lamar Award.

King, the first recipient of the award, is known for her ability to spearhead various initiatives in the local community.

She organized help for the summer meals program, delivered food to over 30 families, was involved with the Salvation Army’s ringing of the bell, and read to students in elementary school. In total, she gave over 200 hours of her time volunteering for food drives.

“She’s done a lot of things to help students learn how to learn, and for that effort, we wanted to reward her with a couple of things,” Raybon said.

King received a medal, a pin and a certificate that reads the following: “The Maribou B. Lamar Award. The second president of the state of Texas has been called the father of Texas public education for leadership in establishing quality public education in Texas. Lamar was a member of the Masonic fraternity known then as it is today for the strong support of excellence in public schools. With this award, we recognize your exemplary achievement and give our warmest congratulations to you and your school district.”

According to Raybon, Nickell faced challenges in his personal and academic life, but said he has done an incredible job of dealing with them.

He was a grand reserve champion in the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, fared well in the state on the agriculture quiz, and conducts engineering on F1 racing cars.

Hutchinson was on the A honor roll for the past three years, a member of the National Honor Society, and he was involved in JROTC and HOSA – Future Health Professionals. He also competed in UIL science and was a member of the student council and superintendent’s council.

All three Lamar Award recipients received the certificate, medal and pin for their achievements.

For more information about the Granbury Masonic Lodge, visit online.