December 17, 2014
By Peter Brusoe, 32°
When students arrived at School Without Walls at Francis Stevens for their first day back from summer vacation they were greeted by beautiful bulletin boards in the hallways and can now enjoy their lunches and do work on sturdy picnic tables because of the Masons & Eastern Star members of the District of Columbia.
The District of Columbia Public Schools hosts an annual program called “Beautification Day.” They invite parents, friends, and community organizations to spruce up and prepare the public schools for incoming students. This year, William R. Singleton Lodge #7 partnered with School Without Walls at Francis Stevens. The lodge asked the question “How can we best help?” The Home School Association shared how they wanted to have bulletin boards in the hallways to showcase student work and to make the school more inviting, and the lack of outside picnic tables.
Singleton Lodge’s charity committee discussed the need and agreed to fund ten picnic tables for the school. For the bulletin boards, the lodge reached out to the Masonic & Eastern Star Home Charities of the District of Columbia. MESH Chairman, Ill. Jesse Villarreal, 33°, PGM, when he heard about the positive impact the bulletin boards would have for the school children worked with Ill. Carroll Collins, 33°, head of the MESH grants committee, and by the end of the week twenty new bulletin boards arrived.
On August 24, 2014 the parents, teachers and volunteers showed up and our brothers went from working with speculative masonic tools to the operative tools of picnic table builders and bulletin board installers. And as a thank you to all of the volunteers, Singleton Lodge ordered lunch for everyone who came out. By 3PM, after 6 hours of work, 10 drill bits, thousands of screws, and 30 pizzas later, the school was all set for the start of a new academic year. One teacher had already started decorating their board with the message “Watch Us Soar!” The Masons and Eastern Star members hoped that we helped in some small way to helping the students soar!