Mt. Hiram Lodge presents annual education awards
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Two Copperas Cove High School seniors and a CCISD teacher were presented with the Mirabeau B. Lamar Award for Excellence in Education by members of the Mt. Hiram Masonic Lodge #595 of Copperas Cove Tuesday evening.
The Lamar award is named after Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar, who was a member of the Harmony Lodge #6 in Galveston, Texas and who fought in the battle of San Jacinto during the Texas Revolution and eventually became the second president of the Republic of Texas in 1838. Lamar’s support of a public-school system, which included calling on Texas’ Congress to set aside land for public schools and two public universities (The University of Texas and Texas A&M University), earned him the title of “Father of Texas Education.”
The Mirabeau B. Lamar Scholarship and Award was first 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. Students also received a $1,000 scholarship with their medal.
Marcus Ortiz was the first of two students recognized Tuesday evening.
Senior Deacon Darrell McDonald shared Ortiz’s accolades from the letters of recommendation, saying that Ortiz’s performance at Copperas Cove High School is “among the best.”
“Marcus is dependable, goal oriented, bright, energetic, compassionate and genuinely well-rounded,” McDonald said. “He has won the respect of many staff members and students by being involved in multiple school activities such as DECA and National Honor Society, the varsity golf team and the varsity football team.”
Ortiz plans to attend Texas State University next fall to pursue his bachelor’s degree in Sports Marketing. He said he was surprised to find out he was selected to receive the Lamar Award but that he thought it was awesome.
Winning this award helped him realize that the hard work and dedication he put in, with the help of his family, in filling out applications and meeting deadlines, was worth it, he said. The financial help is also welcomed too, he added.
“This means a little bit of weight off my shoulders as far as paying for it all,” Ortiz said. “It is expensive like anything else, so this is just a little stepping stone to where we ultimately want to be.”
Kaylee Welch was the second student recognized Tuesday evening, as McDonald shared her accolades.
“Kaylee is an extraordinary leader, an outstanding citizen and she gives countless hours of her time to various service projects at Copperas Cove High School as well as in the community,” McDonald said. “Kaylee is actively involved in various sports teams at Copperas Cove High School including volleyball, powerlifting and golf in addition to being a member of student council. She exercises good judgement and her mature outlook ensures a logical approach to her endeavors.”
Welch, who earned 30 dual-credit hours and has a 4.2 GPA, shared that she was still undecided for where she plans to go after she graduates high school but that she was grateful for her award.
“It’s an opportunity for me to pay for college on my own,” Welch said. “There’s a lot going on with my parents and I really just want to be that independent, with my responsibilities.”
The educator recognized with the Lamar Award was Copperas Cove Junior High School art teacher, Jordan Love.
Love began in CCISD as an instructional aide before teaching 3rd grade at House Creek Elementary and then teaching art at Copperas Cove Junior High.
“Students that struggle in other classes find themselves successful in Mr. Love’s class because he will settle for nothing less,” McDonald said.
Love “infuses his instruction with excitement,” McDonald said. “Lastly, Mr. Love models kindness acceptance and service for his students.”
Love received a check for $100 with his medal and certificate.
Amanda Crawley, CCJHS principal, said she was honored to nominate Love for this award.
“He is an incredible teacher and was also selected for teacher of the year for CCISD and so when they told me he was also being considered for this award, I was ecstatic because he is so deserving,” Crawley said. “So, it means a lot to be able to just nominate him and get him the recognition that he deserves for the work that he does for those kids. They love him and he just kind of brings joy to them every day so to be able to give that back is huge.”
Love said he comes from a family of Masons and called the award a “tremendous honor.”
“Also, recognition in education is very few and far between so any time you get it, you definitely have to hold on to it and be ready to pay it forward when that time comes,” Love said.