Marsh River Masonic Lodge 102 presents a $1,500 check to Mount View High School seniors at the senior baseball game. Courtesy of Monica Furrow

THORNDIKE – Members of Mount View High School’s recently graduated class of 2022 dealt with a lot during their high school career, so when the class wanted to celebrate its commencement with a big senior trip, local Freemasonry groups stepped in to help.

Their generous gifts, together with proceeds from the seniors’ own fundraising projects, totaled $75,000 — enough for an all-night Project Graduation event and a four-day class trip to Orlando, Florida.

Three masonic lodges situated within the RSU 3 district contributed gifts at school events. Marsh River Lodge of Brooks presented a monetary donation at the class’s first day of marching practice, Unity’s Star in the West Lodge contributed funds at a raffle drawing, and Unity Lodge of Thorndike made a presentation at the senior baseball game.

“Masonry, and its appendant bodies, are charitable organizations. We seek to enrich our lives and become better men by helping others,” said V.W. Pete Quimby, secretary of the Star in the West Lodge in Unity.

He said the Unity masons often provide senior citizens with transportation, donate to homeless shelters and food assistance programs, help fund youth sports programs, and partnered with the town of Unity to buy granite benches. “Masonry teaches us to practice the tenets of honesty, integrity, and charity in all of our affairs,” Quimby said.

Members of Star in the West Masonic Lodge 85 and Josiah H. Drummond Chapter 91, Order of the Eastern Star, also of Unity, presented the grant check to the class of 2022 Project Graduation. Their gift was made possible in part by a matching grant from the Maine Masonic Charitable Foundation.

Members of Star In The West Masonic Lodge 85 and Josiah H. Drummond Chapter 91, Order of the Eastern Star, present a $4,500 check to MVHS seniors during marching practice. Photo by Cali Warren

For the senior class’s Project Graduation trip, planning and fundraising were overseen by parents. Three parents of graduating seniors, Amy Whitcomb Brown of Unity, Monica Furrow of Thorndike and Kathy Munro of Liberty, also chaperoned the class’s trip to Universal Studios.

Unity Masonic Lodge 58 presents a $4,500 check to MVHS seniors at Chase Toys in Unity after their ATV raffle drawing. Photo by Cali Warren

Gifts from the three local masonic lodges, in combination with the state Grand Lodge matching grants program, “truly put the kids’ fundraising efforts over the top,” Brown said.

The masons’ donations “helped ensure the kids could have their trip to Florida as well as have a successful, fun, safe and memorable Project Graduation overnight event the evening of graduation itself,” she said.

“To receive this amount of support for the kids, and recognition of their hard work as well, truly means so much to our parent group and the seniors themselves,” Brown said.

In addition to their community outreach to the Freemasons, seniors and parents undertook a color run, a car show and an especially successful ATV raffle, she said. The money funded an all-night Project Graduation event at MVHS on the night of graduation, as well as the four-day getaway to Orlando, from which seniors returned June 22. Leftover earnings will be put toward future class reunions.