NE Portland Masons award bikes to summer readers

Find out why members of two Masonic Lodges go out of their way to encourage kids to read, each summer vacation …

Master of the Parkrose Masonic Lodge, James Akers and past master Christos Efthimiandis sign Summer Reader Awards for students from three Parkrose elementary schools, before their awards ceremony begins.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Once again this fall, members of the Parkrose Masonic Lodge and Eastgate Masonic Lodge, co-located on NE 102nd Avenue near NE Sandy Boulevard, gave Parkrose School District kids a good reason to read books during their summer vacation.

“At this ceremony, we recognize young people who have participated in the Summer Reading Program,” explained James Akers, Master of the Parkrose Masonic Lodge, and “Junior Grand Steward, Oregon”, before their Summer Reading Awards program began on October 5. “All of our summer readers will get a certificate of achievement, and several lucky youngsters will leave here tonight with a brand new bicycle.”

Akers told us that one of the primary interests of Masonry is education. “We’re big supporters of education for young people here in the Parkrose School District. Today’s kids are tomorrow’s future.”

Stevie Blakeley, Principal of Sacramento Elementary School, and the school’s reading program coordinator, Angie King, as well as Shaver Elementary School’s Principal, Cindy Bartman, and the Principal of Prescott Elementary School, Michael Lopes, await the beginning of the Parkrose/Eastgate Masonic Summer Reading Program.

James Akers, Master of the Parkrose Masonic Lodge, with past Master of the Lodge Christos Efthimiandis, and Alexander Farnstom, Master of Eastgate Masonic Lodge, starts the awards program.

Principals delighted with results

Stevie Blakeley, Principal at Sacramento Elementary School, told us, “This is the third year that we’ve been involved in this program. This is great, because it helps get kids reading more in the summer. And they get recognized for their effort – and get the chance to win a bicycle!”

Shaver Elementary School’s Principal, Cindy Bartman, added that the program also encourages kids to keep track of the books they’ve read.

Michael Lopes, Principal at Prescott Elementary School, observed, “Anytime we encourage kids to read to read during the summer months, they typically don’t ‘lose ground’ – maintaining the progress they’ve made during the school year.”

About the Mason’s program, Lopes added, “I think it’s great what they do. This is a wonderful community event, sponsored by a great community organization.”

Summer readers from Prescott Elementary School step up to receive their Achievement Certificates and enter the drawing for the bicycle.

A Prescott Elementary student, assisted by Parkrose Mason Christos Efthimiandis, draws winning names from a hat.

Calls all participants winners
Christos Efthimiandis, Past Master Parkrose Masonic Lodge, addressed those gathered, “We are honored to have representatives here tonight from the schools which participated in the program this year. This is a yearly event.”

Efthimiandis promised that the lodges will continue the program as long as kids from Parkrose schools choose to participate.

Sacramento Elementary School students step up for their awards.

“Tonight, there will not be any losers,” Efthimiandis proclaimed. “You’re all winners; you are winners because you decided to read books.  And if you’re lucky, you’ll win a bicycle. But if you don’t win, read next summer, and next time you may win a bicycle, too.”

Proud parents Karen and Jack O’Neal pause for a photo with their daughter, Mackinzee O’Neal – a Sacramento Elementary School student who won a new bicycle.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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