Mt. Hiram Lodge #595 Awards Mirabeau B. Lamar Award
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Two Copperas Cove High School Class of 2023 seniors and one Copperas Cove High School teacher were recognized by members of the Mt. Hiram Masonic Lodge #595 with the prestigious Mirabeau B. Lamar Award in a public ceremony held at the lodge.
The two students receiving the award and scholarship were Emma Dixon and Makai Goudeau. The teacher receiving the award this year was Joseph Valencia, who teaches integrated physics and chemistry.
Emma Dixon took Dual Credit courses and was a member of the CCHS Swim team, of which she was Captain. She placed first in the Skills Robotic Automation Technology State Competition and will compete at the national level next month in Atlanta. Dixon is also a member of the CCHS DECA chapter and the SkillsUSA Visual Arts Club, which she was selected as an officer for. She is also a member of the National Honor Society.
Dixon plans to attend the University of Texas-San Antonio in the fall of 2023, majoring in computer engineering.
Makai Goudeau also was enrolled in Dual Credit courses with Central Texas College, focusing on business and engineering. He plans to pursue a career as a civil engineer. He is the captain of the Copperas Cove High School baseball team and has been for the past four years.
Goudeau has helped with laying and retrieving the wreaths for the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery and also volunteers in the elementary schools to help mentor younger students.
Goudeau plans to attend Texas Tech University in the fall of 2023, majoring in civil engineering.
This year’s teacher recipient, Joseph Valencia was described in his referral letter as “one of the most passionate teachers on the high school campus.”
“‘He constantly seeks ways to motivate and encourage students to be active participants in their learning, which proves to be successful in his classroom using hands-on real-world connections through labs that go along with each topic that he teaches,’” read Johnsen. “‘Mr. Valencia brings real world experience to his classroom, inspiring students learning. Because of the rapport he has with the students, they are sponges in his classroom and absorb the knowledge he imparts. From using Jenga blocks to teach net force to having students build cars out of water bottles, the resourcefulness that he must bring learning to life for students is one of a kind. Mr. Valencia stands out amongst the staff of Copperas Cove High School because he's a true definition of lead by example. In and out of the classroom, he models what a dedicated teacher looks like and walks humbly as he does not do anything for accolades or recognition but truly so that the students leave every day having a positive educational experience. He is a leader on his team and in the science department. He is always proactive and finds creative solutions to meet the needs of his team and the students he teaches.’”
Each recipient received a medal and certificate. The students will be receiving a $1,500 scholarship, paid to the school they are attending.
“For me, it's just confirmation that I'm doing what I'm supposed to do,” Valencia said about receiving the award. “My job is filled with lots of ambiguities, lots of shades of gray, so to go in there and do what I think is best and to be recognized for it is just positive. It’s a good thing.”
The Mirabeau B. Lamar Award is named after Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar, who is called the “Father of Texas Education” and is the former president of the Republic of Texas and a Texas Independence hero. Lamar is referred to as the “Father of Texas Education” for his role in the establishing of a public school system, including the setting aside of public lands to support two colleges- the University of Texas and Texas A&M University- and the creation of a permanent endowment for the support of public education that is still prevalent to present day.
Under the leadership of Grand Master Graham Childress, the Grand Lodge of Texas established the Lamar Award of Excellence in 1988, to be awarded to students and educators in recognition of outstanding personal achievement in academics, citizenship, community service or sports.
Past Worshipful Master and ceremony emcee James Johnsen shared more background regarding the award.
“In 1848, the Grand Lodge of Texas provided a provision in its Constitution that 10 percent of its revenues were to be set aside in an education fund and appointed a Superintendent of Education to oversee the distribution of those funds,” Johnsen said. “The Grand Lodge also urged local lodges to support existing facilities in their communities and to assist the construction of suitable buildings where none existed.”
Most lodges met in the school buildings in their communities. The first school in Copperas Cove was established in 1884, and Mt. Hiram Lodge #595 met in the school building for 15 years.