Masons help students with bursaries

By Dale Cory

Acquiring a post-secondary education these days is not easy. The costs — when you include tuition, books, lodging, food, travel back and forth to Ponoka for family visits, and yes, the occasional beer — can be staggering.

Thanks to the Masons of Britannia Lodge No. 18 in Ponoka, life just got a tad easier for three high school graduates striving to attain a post-secondary degree.

At a special presentation prior to their regular meeting Sept. 1, the Masons presented Emma Curran, Blair Krause and Travis Kirchner with Higher Education Bursaries each worth $2,000 that will go a long way toward helping them through school.

For Curran, it was the third time she has been honoured by the Masons.

“I’m very fortunate,” said Curran, a 21-year-old going into her fourth year of the bachelor of arts program in political science at the University of Alberta. “The Masons get lots of applicants and they have a representative who goes out and interviews each one of us, so it’s time consuming for them. We all had a home visit. We are very fortunate that they selected us from their outstanding candidates.”

Blair Krause has completed his undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of Alberta, and is now working toward an after-degree in secondary education.

“As any student knows, education is an expensive endeavor, and any help you can get from anyone is great for us as students,” says Krause, 24. “I learned through this process that the Masonic members put their own money into donations, and that means more to me personally. It’s a big honour to accept this tonight.”

Travis Kirchner has finished two years of his apprenticeship and will enter the first year of the instrumentation engineering technology program at NAIT this week.

“It’s going to be a lot of help for me, especially because I had a lot of trouble finding work this summer,” says Kirchner, 22. “To pay off my tuition and other stuff will be a great help for me.”

Dating back to the inception of the Alberta-wide program in 1959, the Masons have handed out 2,803 bursaries worth more than $3 million to students attending post-secondary institutions.