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I don’t know about you, but when I think about Freemasons or Masons, I think of mystical knights, elaborate conspiracies, and blockbuster Hollywood movies about secret codes concocted by America’s Founding Fathers to protect national treasures.

As it turns out, the real Masons are much more interesting.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend a reception with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. This was a small town hall sponsored by the Masons of California. At this meeting, I learned that the Masons are big supporters of public education and have been for centuries. In California, the man who basically founded our public school system was a Mason. Who knew!

Right here in San Diego, the Masons funded the college expenses of 21 students who otherwise would not have had the opportunity for higher learning. One recent recipient of this Investment in Success scholarship program was an 18-year-old woman who attended high school full time while working 32 hours a week to single-handedly support her younger siblings.

On the other end of the school spectrum, the Masons of California have partnered with national nonprofit Raising A Reader to get books into the hands of kindergarteners who otherwise would have nothing to read at home. Central Elementary in City Heights is one beneficiary of this program, which will fund take-home books for eight kindergarten classes.

So, really, perhaps my initial views of the Masons were not so far off-base. Here are some modern knights in shining armor giving opportunities to kids that otherwise wouldn’t have them. Masons today conspire with community-based partners to bring more resources to schools. And they do it all to protect our nation’s true treasure — our children.

The best part? None of this is secret. The Masons are just too busy doing stuff to talk about the stuff they do.

Now, we just need a blockbuster movie about the real Masons. Hello Hollywood?

Bey-Ling Sha lives in San Carlos.


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