Masonic Lodge honors CCISD teacher and students
Cove Leader-Press
Tuesday night was a special night for Kerstin Stevens, Kayla Wilson, and Joshua Haliburton, as they all received the Lamar Award from the Mt. Hiram Masonic Lodge of Copperas Cove #595.
The award is named after Mirabeau B. Lamar, a Mason who became the President of the Republic of Texas in December of 1838 and also has been called the “Father of Texas Education” due to his efforts at supporting the creation of a public education in Texas.
The Mirabeau B. Lamar Scholarship and Award for Excellence in Education was established in 1988 under the guidance of Grand Master Graham Childress. The Lamar Medal is awarded to students and educators in recognition of outstanding personal achievement in academics, citizenship, community service, or sports.
Kayla Wilson was one of two students to be honored with the Lamar Award and Medal, as well as a $1,000 college scholarship. Kayla will be graduating from Copperas Cove High School in June and is going to attend Baylor University, where she also plans to major in Biology.
Mason Mike Wilburn made the presentations. As he began talking about Kayla’s achievements and reasons for receiving this award, he said that in the 10 years since he has been chairman of the Lamar Award Committee for the Masonic Lodge, Kayla received the most recommendation letters for any student receiving this award.
“Kayla is a person of great moral character, she operates with integrity, and never has a bad word to say about anyone. She is hard working and dedicated, and never leaves a job unfinished,” Wilburn said. “Kayla Wilson is a dedicated student who cares deeply about learning as much as she can on any given subject. Kayla possess the drive, knowledge and character to be anything or do anything that she sets her mind to.”
Wilson also does a lot of community service and focuses on helping people who are less fortunate. She also founded a spirit committee at Cove High School, which helps students take more pride in their school. Wilburn said she was an easy choice for the committee to select her, because she does so much to give back to the community.
Wilason said she was so happy when she found out that she would be receiving this award and is grateful for the $1,000 scholarship, because that every little bit helps.
“It will make a difference in the long run, as school will not be cheap, but with this help it will set me up for success in the future,” Wilson said.
Joshua Haliburton is male recipient for this year’s Lamar Medal and $1,000 scholarship. Joshua plans to attend Texas A&M University in College Station, where he plans to major in electrical engineering.
Wilburn said Joshua was a member of the French club and they spent time collecting baby clothes for the Hope Pregnancy Center in Copperas Cove. He also volunteers at Helping Hands, which is an organization that provides clothes to people who can’t afford it. Wilburn said Joshua is a remarkable young man and a true student who values his earned grade. Joshua actively seeks out challenges, he cares about people, and that is one of the main reasons the committee chose him as this year’s recipient of the Lamar Award.
“I am very honored that they selected me for this award,” Haliburton said. “It will help me in financing my college and inspires me that one day in the future that I could give to the community myself.”
Kerstin Stevens is the recipient of this year’s Lamar Award for an educator. She has been teaching at Williams Ledger Elementary School since 2003. Currently she teaches English as a Second Language to kindergarten through fifth grade students.
“Mrs. Stevens’ commitment and passion for the growing group second language learners has resulted in a positive relationship with her students,” Wilburn said as he read Stevens’ recommendations from her peers. “She is highly motivated, creative and works hard in various ways to make sure all students are successful. She mentors new teachers, and brings energy, creativity and a love for learning to her classroom.”
“I was very surprised, because there are so many great teachers at CCISD, but I am really honored,” Stevens said on learning she would be receiving the award.
“It is a phenomenal honor first of all, and to see that our kids are doing so well, and that they are being recognized by people in the community,” said Joseph Burns, superintendent of Copperas Cove ISD.
Wilburn is a member of the CCISD Board of Trustees and the Chairman of the Lamar Committee, and said that the Masons and public education go way back, and that they support the community and education.

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