Front row, from left are Eron Loser, Aidan Rangel, Janis Knuckols, Antonio Duenas, Gracie Mikeska’s mom and brother. Back row, from left, are Aaron Tyksinski, Rick Bartok, Chip Entz, Albert Davis and Cody Cockroft.

Morton Lodge No. 72 has awarded scholarships of $1000 each to four high school seniors.

Selected from among the 20 applicants were Erin Loser, Lamar Consolidated High School; Gracie Mikeska, Fulshear High School; Aidan Rangel, Needville High School; and Antonio Duenas, Terry High School.

Recognized as educator of the year was Janis Knuckols from Jane Long Elementary.

Following introductory remarks from Worshipful Master Chip Entz, the presentations were made by Rick Bartok and Albert Davis, members of the Scholarship Committee.

The Masonic fraternity has long supported public schools.

In the early days, most lodges were two-story buildings.

The lodge met on the second floor and encouraged the local churches and schools to meet on the ground floor.

Many lodges started public schools themselves in their lodge buildings and paid the teachers’ salaries.

The second president of the Republic of Texas, Mirabeau B. Lamar, was a Mason and is known as the father of the Texas Public School system, because his work resulted in the State of Texas setting up a public school system.

As a commemorative to his work for public education, the Grand Lodge of Texas has established the Lamar Medal which is awarded for excellence in scholarship and for outstanding contributions to that cause.

Young people who are outstanding achievers and those who accept the challenge to excel help make our communities, state and nation stronger.

In 1998, A. J. Ramos was Worshipful Master. He asked Doug Callaway, who was Senior Warden, to organize a golf tournament to raise money for scholarships to be awarded to deserving graduating seniors of local high schools.

Rules for the scholarships were established in 1998, and the first awards made in 1999.

Since that time, the Lodge has held an annual golf tournament for that purpose which has become the Morton Masters Charity Golf Tournament.

The scholarships were named in honor of A. J. Ramos following his death in 2012. Including this year’s honorees, awards have been made to 92 students and 18 educators since the inception of the program.

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