Three teachers and six students from Alvord, Bridgeport and Paradise received Lamar Awards from Bridgeport Masonic Lodge No. 587 during a presentation May 14.
Teachers Melissa Nivens of Alvord Middle School, Kay Short of Bridgeport Middle School and Melanie Tittor of Paradise Elementary were named Outstanding Teachers. Winners were selected by a committee based on an essay titled “Why I Teach.” They each receive a Lamar Award medal, a certificate and $300 check.
Seniors Ariel Rogers and Chase Walter of Alvord High School; Nikki Mowery and Cameron Crawford of Bridgeport High; and Sara Kelly and Dalton Meadows of Paradise High each received a $1,000 scholarship.
“The lodge applied for and received a matching grant from the Texas Masonic Charities Foundations, an extension of the Grand Lodge of Texas, which allowed us to give $1,000 scholarships for the first time ever,” said Worship Master J.W. Irick.
Students typically receive $500 each. Due to the demise of the Alvord Masonic Lodge in 2011, the lodge in Bridgeport recognized winners in Alvord ISD. All were selected by a committee based on an application.
The Lamar awards were started by the Grand Lodge of Texas in 1988 to honor Mirabeu Buonaparte Lamar, a mason known as the “father of Texas public education,” and local teachers and students.
It was the early 1990s before the local lodge saved the money to award scholarships through an annual golf tournament.
“The Lodge feels that investing in the education of our local youth is important for several reasons,” Irick said. “They are the future of Texas, our communities and cities. Their education allows us to contribute to that future, giving hope for a brighter future for all.”