Together we make a profound difference
Public school support
San Diego Unified School District, a “partnership in education” program
connects public schools to local businesses and organizations for support. S.W.
Hackett Lodge No. 574 has been among these public partners since 1998, and for
the past nine years members have been devoted to Sequoia Elementary School. In
addition to answering one-off needs throughout the year, the lodge has
established several annual events and activities.
Hackett Lodge is by far our best partnership within the community,” says
Sequoia Elementary Principal Ryan Kissel. “They have helped many, many families
over the years here.”
Achenbach, Past Master and current chair of the lodge’s Public Schools
- The lodge’s
Public Schools Committee stays in regular contact with school
administrators. This way, we learn of the school’s needs as they arise,
and can organize lodge support to help out.
- Over the years,
we have provided backpacks filled with school supplies; renovated
classrooms; erected a flagpole; donated funds to buy library books;
provided musical instruments and supplies; and more.
- Every year a
school secretary or counselor identifies five or six families that are
struggling and demonstrate significant need for the holidays. The lodge
provides everything they need for a holiday meal, a gift card for the
family, and gifts for the children.
- At lodge, we
announce all the food and gift items that are needed, and individual
members sign up to provide them.
- On the day of
the deliveries, we load up a vehicle for each family, and a few brothers
personally deliver the food and gifts. It’s a very moving and rewarding
- Each spring we
sponsor the Sequoia Elementary School spelling bee for fourth, fifth, and
sixth graders. We provide $75, $50, and $25 cash prizes to the first,
second, and third place winners in each grade. The teachers talk about
these prizes year-round to motivate students.
- Lodge members
and families make a special effort to attend. The school always reserves
the first few rows of the auditorium for the lodge.
- The principal
takes a moment at the beginning of the event to thank our lodge.
of the Year dinner
- Every year the
school selects a Teacher of the Year, and we honor him or her at our June
stated meeting dinner. The teacher, principal, and their families are
guests of honor.
- We provide each
teacher with a framed certificate and honorarium. We’ve collected photos
over the years of the master and principal awarding these certificates
- The principal
gives remarks congratulating the teachers and thanking our lodge.
- The teacher says
a few words. We provide suggestions ahead of time: what brought them to
teaching, their experience working with children at this particular
elementary school, and what it means to have the support of community
to other lodges
- Many larger
school districts already have a community partnership program in place.
Start with the administration offices, and ask how your lodge can get
- Try to avoid
simply writing checks. To make the experience more meaningful for lodge
members, work with the school to figure out opportunities for active
- Be open to ways
for the students and school to reciprocate support. Sequoia Elementary
School has invited our lodge to community recognition events, and students
poured ice tea and coffee at our stated meeting.
- Get your whole
lodge on board. A long line of lodge leaders have prioritized this school
partnership, and our fraternal family is very generous with its support
Hackett Lodge models what it means to be good citizens for our students,” says
Principal Kissel. “They demonstrate to our kids, ‘We care about you.’ They
stress the importance of obtaining a good education.”
Thank you Worshipful Achenbach!