Division 8 Masons of Southern California, devoted to fundraising for the Grand Lodge of California charitable activity.

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Friday April 12, 2013 was a glorious day for Masonry and the Masons of Division VIII! With guests, many Brethren, Grand Lodge officials, parents, students, and school officials, the Public Schools Advisory Council – Inland Empire hosted the annual Public Schools Kick-Off event at Edward Hyatt Elementary School in the San Jacinto Unified School District.  The second elementary school to have Raising A Reader as an integral and successful part of the education process in the District. Brother Mike Sekera of San Jacinto Lodge coordinated the program which featured glowing comments from school officials, parents, and teachers on the value of the reading program and the Investment in Success scholarship program to which $79000 has been allocated for this year. Campus tours by fifth and sixth grade students were well-received as each classroom visited found students and teachers fully engaged in the learning process which bodes so well for the success of the kids and the school community. Principal De Roberts read several parent tributes about the success of the Raising A Reader program, Dr. Shari Fox, Superintendent, also gave glowing remarks about the program and support given by San Jacinto Lodge and the Masonic Foundation as well. Worshipful John Heisner, the emcee for the program, explained the history and importance of Masonic support for public education followed by the presentation of the check to the PSAC-IE to fund RAR classrooms and upcoming scholarships in the Inland Empire. The PSAC-IE is grateful to Brother Mike Sekera for putting together this absolutely phenomenal program. His knowledge of the community and school district, and his dedication to the cause was above and beyond. Thanks also, to Candler Gibson and Jessica Mausner of the California Masonic Foundation for all their work and support, as well as to Worshipful Frank Lee, AGL of Division VIII, for his tireless support of this and every program, and to all the Brethren of Division VIII who continue to support public schools in their areas and the “Fraternity’s Project”. We are pleased to announce that, in response to your fundraising efforts, the Raising A Reader program will be expanding to other schools in Division VIII. As the most vital parts of education are found in reading and literacy, we must continue our efforts to fund this important effort to improve our society through our children.

Article Submitted by: Dennis J. Brandt

Photos by: Michael J. Sekera

Video by: Franklin R. Lee


On March 5, 2013, the staff of San Jacinto High School provided breakfast for those individuals and organizations who donated time and financial awards to its students during the 2012 school year. Mike Sekera and Dennis Brandt, members of the Grand Lodge Public Schools Advisory Council – IE, joined with community members, school staff, and San Jacinto Unified School District administrators in being serenaded by groups from the school’s Music Department and enjoying presentations from the Art and Drama Departments as well. In 2012 the PSAC-IE awarded an Investment in Success scholarship to Ms. Jamie Back, a graduate of SJHS, who is currently attending Cal State University, Fullerton, along with other recipients from La Sierra and Perris High Schools. Along with the Investment in Success scholarship program, the PSAC-IE is diligently working with the Masonic Foundation and Raising A Reader to bring this highly successful literacy program to other schools in Division VIII. The support of all Lodges is crucial to the success of this and all programs in our Division. Again, we thank San Jacinto High School for a wonderful breakfast and its continued support.

Operation Literacy 2012

posted by admin
July 30, 2012

“There is a tide in the affairs of men”

The Operation Literacy committee presented this year’s Division 8 program, for the Grand Master’s project, “Raising A Reader” on Wednesday June 20, 2012 at the San Bernardino Scottish Rite Center.  The theme of the program was “There is a tide in the affairs of men”, and it was brought to life with guests speakers, a slide presentation, and donations to the Grand Master’s project from Lodges and other supporting groups.

After the welcome by the Master of Ceremonies, Jim Ridley, P.M., San Jacinto Lodge No. 338, Virgil Mink, P.M. from Temescal-Palms Lodge No. 314 gave the invocation. The invocation and benediction were chosen from the 2012 Operation Literacy Prayer Contest submissions.

A toast to the American Flag was given by Van Owen, P.M., Upland-Mt. Baldy Lodge No 419, in his Hero of 76 uniform, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Dr. Gabrielle Miller, the National Executive Director for “Raising A Reader” spoke on evaluating interventions for at-risk learners. She brought home the importance of having students reading at grade level by the 3rd grade, and how their program strives to put books in the children’s hands and follow their progress though out a school year.

Mr. John Zickenfoose (Mr. “Z”), who is the Outreach and FFL Coordinator for Corona Public Library, gave his personal testimony on the challenges he had as a young man who graduated from high school, unable to read. His road to literacy began by attending literacy classes at the Corona Public Library. He is now an advocate for literacy for our youth in the community.

The program continued with a presentation, written and produced by the Division 8 Committee that intertwined various narrators and a video about the history and importance of education and literacy in the United States.

The Illustrious Melvin K. Tallon, 33˚, Personal Representative in the Sovereign Grand Inspector General in California, welcomed us to the San Bernardino Scottish Rite Center on behalf of the Scottish Rite. He commented how the Grand Master’s project tied in with their perpetual charity that focuses on assisting children with childhood language disorders.

We then came to the most important part of the evening, when the representatives from the Lodges and other supporting groups presented their donations to the Grand Master, Frank Loui, for his project, “Raising A Reader”. There were donations from 19 Lodges from Division 8 and 3 Lodges from Division 7, who also participated. There were also donations from Moreno Valley Chapter Order of DeMolay and Yucaipa’s Order of the Golden Slipper and High Twelve Club.   The donations presented that evening exceeded $13,000.00.

Division 8’s Inspector at Large, Mark Sandstrom P.M., on behalf of the Division then presented a gift to Jeanie Loui and a crystal engraved plate to Frank Loui. The presentations were followed by the formal introduction of the Grand Master and his remarks.

The programmed was closed with the benediction, given by contest winner Robert Bronner, Fontana Lodge No. 653. Refreshments, fellowship and photo opportunities followed in the dining room.

We cannot overlook the importance of the participation and the donation made by the Moreno Valley Chapter Order of DeMolay and the assistance from the DeMolay from the Sonora League. These young men help not only in greeting the guests, but showed their support to this important endeavor. The Division 8 committee also wishes to send our sincere thanks to the San Bernardino Scottish Rite Center for the use of their facilities and the time they allowed us in preparation and practices for this event.  Our thanks also to our guest speakers for their time and their support of this years’ project.  And finally, but by no means least, the Committee cannot say enough to the Lodges from the Division 8 and Division 7 for presenting their donations, participating in the program, and their continued support of all events the Lodges in our division participate in.

A video of the entire event is available on this web site. Click on the link above under “2012 event was a success!” In the near future we will also be posting smaller sections of the program, for your viewing pleasure.

Franklin R. Lee

A.G.L. Division 8



The perfect cap and foundation stones for this year’s Operation Literacy program were furnished by Brothers Virgil Mink and Robert Bonner. Worshipful Brother Virgil opened the program with the invocation and Brother Bonner closed the ceremonies with the benediction.

Thank you Brothers for your inspired words and thanks to everyone who made a submission. We look with anticipation to your participation next year.

Floyd Orr

Division 8 Operation Literacy

Prayer Contest Chairman

"Let's Go To Las Vegas"

posted by admin
July 2, 2012


San Jacinto had their program, ”Let’s Go to Las Vegas”, with Seniors On Stage, on June 15, 2012 at Hans Christianson Middle School in Menifee. The proceeds from the evening went to the Grand Master’s project, “Raising A Reader”. The evening included 25 acts, that consisted of stand up comedians, such as “Larry the Cable Guy”, an operatic aria performed by Jan Milos, an Hawaiian dance performed by Barbara Leone accompanied by her husband Vince Leone singing “Blue Hawaii” and moving renditions of the gospel song “All Rise” by Arlene Fisher and “America the Beautiful” sung by Leonard Fisher.  The program offered something for everyone.  The PTA from the school also participated and sold light refreshments to those in attendance.

San Jacinto Lodge, including the M.C., Jim Ridley and their Inspector, Russ Baldauf, did an outstanding job producing this production. We wish to thank the members of the Lodge, who helped put this show together, coordinated with Seniors on Stage, made arrangements for the school, the insurance that was required and the millions of other details that necessary to check off to make this event the success it was.


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