As part of the Masons long-time effort to support public education, Grand Master Jim Crockett and Mason George Whitfield from Fort Crook Masonic Lodge #250 presented a plaque to Principal Ray Guerrero at a student assembly at Burney Junior-Senior High School.
Jim Crockett said, “Fort Crook Masonic Lodge #250 in Fall River Mills has for years supported the schools in the Intermountain Area. This year we are presenting plaques to the Staff and teachers of Fall River, Burney and Big Valley schools in recognition of their efforts and achievements furthering the education of the students.”
The plaque says, “We hereby proclaim our sincere thanks to the teachers and staff of Burney Junior Senior High School and extend our congratulations for their provision of outstanding academic instruction, leading in turn to exemplary achievement by all enrolled students.”
Bruce R. Galloway, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of California proclaimed April Public Education Month for 2018. On April 1, the California Department of Education also issued a statement encouraging people to recognize April as Public Education Month.
Before presenting the plaque to Principal Guerrero, Crockett gave a brief history of Masonic support for public education.
In his talk he said,
Because Freemasonry places such great importance on education, we have become steadfast supporters of the Public Schools. Horace Mann, the father of our present system of public schools, wrote that the object of a free public schools system is “to give every child a free, straight, solid pathway by which he can walk directly up from the ignorance of an infant to a knowledge of the primary duties of a man.”
The California State public school system was started in the 1850’s, and the first State Superintendent of Public Instruction was John Swett, a transplanted Mason who had come west in the years following the Gold Rush.
The public schools have always been a special concern of California Masons. Charles Albert Adams, Grand Master in 1920, wrote that as Masons “we subscribe to the belief that an enlightened citizenship is the first great care of a progressive State:’ He believed that the future of our free democracy depended on the quality of our public schools.