Local Masonic Lodge Award Prestigious Lamar Medal To Four Pampa High Students


As a part of their annual College Scholarship Presentations on May 23rd, Pampa Lodge No. 966 also honored the scholarship recipients with the award of the prestigious Mirabeau B. Lamar Award for Excellence. McKenzie Woods, Hanna Porter, Michale Sims and Ki’sha Brown were presented with a Certificate of Recognition and a beautiful bronze medal suspended from a red, white and blue ribbon, engraved with their names.  

Established in 1988 under the leadership of Grand Master Graham Childress, the Lamar Award of Excellence for personal Achievement is awarded to students and educators by Texas Masonic lodges in their communities in recognition of outstanding personal achievement in academics, citizenship, community service or sports. This prestigious award was named in honor of the “Father of Texas Education” Mirabeau Bonaparte Lamar who travelled from Georgia with horse and sword, to join Sam Houston’s Army in 1836. 

The role of Masons in the establishment of public education in Texas has benefitted generations of Texans. As individuals and as members of the fraternity Masons were influential and instrumental in the establishment of the strong public education system we now enjoy in Texas.

If you’ve ever noticed any of the old Masonic Lodge buildings in Texas, likely situated prominently in the old town square, you see that almost all of them are two story buildings. Lodge Rooms were constructed on the top floors, and the lower floor was reserved for the use of the first Texas public schools. Masons provided the physical space for the school, and in many instances, paid all or part of the teacher’s salary. From the founding of our fledgling Republic to current times, public education has always been the vanguard of Masonry in Texas. The Founders of our Republic knew that this experiment in Democracy could only survive with a well-educated populace, and so when Texas gained its independence, Masons began to emphasize the need for education. All of the Presidents and Vice-Presidents of the Republic of Texas were Masons.  

In December 1838, Mirabeau B. Lamar, a Mason, became the Second President of the Republic of Texas and distinguished himself as the “Father of Texas Education” for his support of a public school system. In his first address to the Congress, he pleaded for an appropriation of land, and pleaded for the creation of a public school system in Texas. He declared, 

“If we desire to establish a republican government upon a broad and permanent basis, it will become our duty to adopt a comprehensive and well-regulated system of mental and moral culture.”

He proposed the set aside of public lands for the creation of a permanent endowment to support public education. His educational views met with the approval of Congress and provisions were madeforpublic education. At his urging Congress passed an act on January 26th, 1839, which set aside three leagues (13,285 acres) of land in each county to support primary schools and an additional fifty leagues (221,420 acres) to support two colleges in 1839. 

In 1840, Congress set aside an additional league for the support of county schools.    

Lamar’s views regarding education are clearly reflected in this statement, from his first address to the Republics Congress,

“The cultivated mind is the guardian genius of Democracy, and while guided and controlled by virtue, the noblest attribute of man. It is the only dictator that freemen acknowledge, and the only security which freemen desire.”

Later, in 1848, it was determined that 10 percent of the revenue of the Masonic Grand Lodge of Texas be dedicated to support public schools. 

Notably, Texas was the first state to give state aid to education. In addition, they made provisions for the certification of teachers. In 1854, the State legislature established a permanent school fund and an available school fund to finance the education of the youth of Texas. Once again, many of these legislators were Masons. The “school lands” of Texas continue to provide revenue to the permanent endowment and support common education in Texas and supplement the property taxes dedicated to the school systems. The lasting impact of the creation of this permanent endowment for the support of public education lives to this day.

Because of his constant early efforts, Brother Lamar is considered the founder of public education in Texas. Since 1988, Masonic Lodges across our Great State proudly honor exceptional students and educators with this medal in his memory, reminding all Texans of his words “The cultivated mind is the genius of Democracy”.

Congratulations to McKenzie, Ki’sha, Michael and Hanna for your determination to pursue excellence in your education.