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Students Place in Mason Essay Contest

Two St. Francis High School students were recently informed of their placement in the Mason Essay Contest. Seniors Audrey Meyer and Cassidy Busse both had their essays selected for submission to the state contest. Audrey placed first in the local judging. Cassidy placed second. Both girls will receive a scholarship from the local Masonic Lodge (amount to be determined).

Congratulations, Audrey and Cassidy.

The girls' essays are reproduced below for your reading enjoyment.

by Audrey Meyer

Some people say forced volunteerism should not be considered volunteerism at all. On the contrary, without instilling a sense of pride when working to help the community, young adults are very unlikely to volunteer when they’re older, and thus less likely to encourage their kin as well. Schools and, most importantly, parents should continue to “force” students to volunteer. Though I agree the act is a paradox, it should still be enforced. If required, the students are mandatorily undergoing the experience. By continuing this action, students are learning to build a sense of pride by making strides to better the lives of others and extending their personal connections. In years to come, the students (now adults) will be more inclined to help their society without the motivation of a diploma. 

When adults promote the opportunity for personal growth and better self-esteem, students are more likely to participate in community service. If adults market volunteerism as a way for students to better themselves by opening up to the opportunity of more connections, students might take the initiative to do so. Students may be more drawn to an experience that universities will find substantial. Selfish as it may be, it’s a reason to open the door of volunteerism. Let’s face it: Giving up time and money to strangers takes a lot of moxie. 

Most people, especially students in high school, are unlikely to volunteer without encouragement. The incentive of a diploma seems monumental enough. This tactic should be used in all schools. A new system could be developed where students are given a set number of hours to complete each high school year, not just senior year. Perhaps by doing this, adults will continue to follow in the footsteps of the wise Freemasons, who teach the importance of helping others, especially those who cannot help themselves.


by Cassidy Busse

Giving is better than receiving, and the Masonic Nonprofit Foundation knows that to be true. For 53 years, the Masonic Foundation has found incredible ways to give to Kansas people and their communities. Over $30 million dollars has been given to Cancer Research; almost $9 million dollars in the form of scholarships to Kansas students. The Masonic foundation also have scholarship opportunities for students with disabilities. They have found ways to help, encourage, and benefit so many Kansans.

I believe that even if you do not have monetary gifts to give, kindness can go just as far, and the Masonic Foundation represents that by promoting volunteerism. Showing kindness to others is important to both the giving and receiving person. Volunteering is a great example of spreading kindness. Through volunteering, so much can be gained: knowledge, compassion, awareness, and joy. Spending time helping someone else can be one of the greatest feelings. I have found that that feeling can come from both forced volunteerism as well as volunteering by choice. I have spent time volunteering with my church by picking up trash, leading Bible school, babysitting, and cooking meals. Although I did not jump out of my seat every time, it was so rewarding to know that through my hard work, someone else's day was made better.

I think that a push towards volunteering in every community is needed in order to see the great opportunities that come with it. Most students do not know where to start when it comes to finding ways to volunteer, which is why guidance is so necessary. Forced volunteerism is necessary to start to show students ways to get involved and the opportunities that come with it. Although there does come a point when I think it should be that student’s job to find ways to volunteer on their own. Once students receive the feelings that follow volunteering and see the changes that they made, the next opportunities no longer seem forced.

The Masonic Foundation is a perfect example of encouraging volunteerism by even choosing to have the essay topic focused on it. I hope that by taking time to think about volunteering and the benefits that come with it will inspire others to help where they can. 

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St. Francis 100 College Street St. Francis, KS  67756

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