Bikes galore reward Parkrose summertime readers

You might be surprised to learn how many bicycles two Parkrose-based Masonic Lodges gave to the grade school kids who read books over the summer …

These shiny brand-new bicycles await Parkrose School District youngsters who spent some of their summer vacation reading books.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Again this year, reading books over the summer vacation paid off for many young Parkrose School District students – thanks to the members of the East Gate Masonic Lodge and Parkrose Masonic Lodge.

The “sparkplug” of the event – East Gate Mason Christos Efthemiadis – was on hand, smiling brightly, as he watched the children and their families come into the building on the evening of October 18.

Christos Efthemiadis, past Worshipful Master of the East Gate Masonic Lodge, welcomes families and students to the Summer Reading Program bike give-away.

“This is our fifth year,” Efthemiadis confided to us. “So far, we’ve given away more than fifty bicycles to students who participate in our reading program.”

Patrick Pierce, Worshipful Master of the Parkrose Masonic Lodge, also welcomed their guests. “This is extremely important: Learning, and gaining communication skills. It is a foremost tenet in which Masons believe.”

Jacob Imbleau, Worshipful Master of the East Gate Masonic Lodge, tells why the Summer Reading Program is important to the Masons.

“I’m really proud to see that so many students participated,” Jacob Imbleau, Worshipful Master of the East Gate Masonic Lodge, told those present.

“One of the teachings of our organization is self-improvement,” continued Imbleau. “Self-improvement is based on getting a good education – and developing good reading skills is fundamental.

These guests look excited about the prospect of winning a brand new bicycle.

“Education sometimes gets forgotten in the mix of things that we do,” Imbleau added. “We don’t want education to be forgotten. We want our children to be superior performers in everything they do, and be able to live the American dream. I’m glad to have you here; I hope to see you participating in next year’s program!”

After a brief pause, Imbleau proclaimed, “Let’s all do we came here for, and get some bikes!”

Principal Michel Lopes of Prescott Elementary School congratulates one of his school’s winning students, Elizabeth Francisco.

In past years, a drawing was held to determine which of the qualifying students would receive a free bicycle and helmet. But this year, although there were 25 children who qualified to attend this event, only ten came that evening.

“This means each of you get a bike!” Efthemiadis exclaimed. This particular life-lesson was clear – it pays to show up!

Look at all these smiling faces! The East Gate and Parkrose Masonic Summer Reading Program is, once again, a big hit.

The kids hardly notice the refreshments put out to celebrate the evening – they’re focused on picking out their new bike.

  • On the cover, Prescott Elementary students Imona Araya and Elizabeth Francisco celebrate getting new bikes.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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