Kenai Masonic Lodge No. 11 hosted the 35th annual Masonic School Awards Banquet April 18 in recognition of the outstanding students selected by each school in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.
Nearly all the schools in the district were personally represented. The master of ceremonies was Robert Wiseman and presenting the awards was Les Little, past grand master of Masons of Alaska. The invocation was given by Rev. Lee Moore, who coincidentally is a past recipient of the Masonic School Award himself.
Other guest speakers were Kenai City Mayor John Williams and Dr. Nels Anderson, president of the school board.
Seven-year-old Jacob Darrow of Aurora Borealis Charter School, who did an outstanding job, presented that "Ragged Old Flag."
The Presentation of the Flag ceremony was given by the National Sojourners, Heroes of 76, including William Coghill, retired U.S. Army colonel, Warren Pruitt, retired U.S. Marines captain, and John C. Ingram, U.S. Marines and past grand master of Masons of Alaska.
The students were selected by their faculty and peers based on a set of criteria that ranged from academic and athletic achievement to intangibles such as the ability to lead and volunteer efforts in the community. Each outstanding student received a personalized plaque, framed certificate and $50 U.S. savings bond. Their names also were engraved on their schools' perpetual plaque.
I would personally like to commend the 2002 Masonic School Awards chair, Tim Smith, for his outstanding job in coordinating this year's program. It was a great success. I also would like to thank Judy Imholte for providing the homemade goodies we all partook of after the ceremony.
Thanks to the Masonic Golf Tournament Committee chairman, Chuck Wellong, for the committee's fund-raising efforts in order to sponsor the Masonic School Awards program and Masonic Scholarship Fund. The annual tournament, held each year in June, raises the funds to support these programs. This year's tournament is scheduled to take place on June 8 and 9 and is open to the public to play and sponsor holes. For more information, call Chuck Wellong at 260-4057.
Finally, I'd like to ask the members of our community to take pride in our students and our school district for the outstanding job they're doing.
Nate Esteban, Master, Kenai Lodge No. 11
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