On Monday, May 8th, the Freemasons and Order of Eastern Star hosted their annual Seniors Banquet for the 2008 class of seniors of Cherokee and San Saba high schools. Over 70 people were in attendance and enjoyed a fine meal of fried fish, fries and hushpuppies furnished by Richard Smith. After supper, introductions and a short program, the Mirabeau B. Lamar Awards were presented by Worshipful Master Neal A. Watt.
The Grand Lodge of Texas began the Mirabeau B. Lamar Award in 1988. This award was named for the second president of The Republic of Texas. Lamar, a Freemason, dedicated statesman and champion for public school education, is best known as the "Father of Public Education of Texas."
It was his vision as president of the young republic to ensure an educational opportunity for all classes by the use, sale and lease of public land. He also envisioned a two-school university system, which became a reality and recognizable today as The University of Texas and Texas A&M University. However, it was years after his passing that the traditional school district system was finally created. But under Lamar's leadership, local Masonic Lodges began to establish schools in almost every community in Texas.
In October of 1861, San Saba Masonic Lodge No. 225 formally established the first school in the community. The Lodge building was two-story where the upstairs was used for Lodge purposes and downstairs was used as the school room. A charter was officially approved by the Texas Legislature on December 11, 1861 and the institution was thereafter known as San Saba Masonic College. The Lodge operated the school until September 4, 1879.
Since the inception of the Lamar Award in 1988, a student from Cherokee and San Saba high schools has received a cash scholarship to be applied towards college expenses. In 1991, the Lodge expanded the award to include an outstanding or retiring educator from each school. Up to this year, 39 students and 33 educators have received the Lamar Award medal. Students selected this year received a $900.00 scholarship and each educator received a cash award of $25.00.
This year, the Cherokee awards went to Yovane Uribe, student, and Shannon Martin, teacher. San Saba awards went to Ann Marie Carpenter, student, and Colleen Womack, teacher. The Lodge takes this opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of these individuals and the senior class of 2008, wishing them the best success possible.