|WM Voss, Scholarship Recipient, Myself|
I also was able to present the scholarship last year. I've included some of the remarks I gave at that time. (I was fortunate to have my own speech prepared, as another area Lodge was presenting a scholarship and read the same boilerplate speech I was given by Grand Lodge.)
Freemasons have always been interested in education. Ours is the only fraternal organization which urges its members to study what we refer to as The Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences. These are grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, music, astronomy and geometry.Until next time, timendi causa est nescire.
From the very inception of the country, Freemasons have advocated and supported public schools. Brother George Washington, in a letter to John Adams, said, "Wise and judicious modes of education, patronized and supported by communities, will draw together the sons of the rich and the poor, among whom it makes no distinction; it will cultivate the natural genius, elevate the soul, excite laudable emulation to excel in knowledge, piety, and benevolence; and finally it will reward its patrons and benefactors by shedding its benign influence on the public mind."
Since its official formation in 1717, Freemasonry has developed into a worldwide fraternity emphasizing personal study, self-improvement, and social betterment via individual involvement and philanthropy.
During the late 1700s, Freemasonry was one of the organizations most responsible for spreading the ideals of the Enlightenment, which were the dignity of man, the liberty of the individual, the right of all persons to worship as they choose, the formation of democratic governments, and the importance of a public education.
Grand Master De Witt Clinton, when Governor of New York, championed the cause of public schools so strongly that he became known as the Father of Public Schools in that state.
Grand Master Benjamin Franklin vigorously urged the adoption of a public school system in Pennsylvania, and established the first public high school in America. Prior to this, education past the 8th grade was reserved for the wealthy and powerful.
Throughout much of America, Freemasons were directly responsible for establishing and promoting public school systems in their communities. It is our belief that an education is key to a peaceful and equal society.