First Christian Church was packed Sunday afternoon, not for singing hymns, but for singing praise to a mission of the Masons.
Sixty-four children from school districts across the South Plains were recognized for completing a three year course funded by the Scottish Rite Masons. Kids like Keegan Blount, who spoke at this graduation ceremony. She told the crowd, "The last three years have been the opportunity of a lifetime for me."
Keegan read her speech, not for security, but for bragging rights. You see, all these graduates from all different ages have one thing in common - they have Dyslexia, which is a difficulty in decoding words.
Dyslexia doesn't just mean they see letters backwards, there are many variations. Sometimes the words may be jumbled, or spaced improperly, or pushed together with no spaces. So, dyslexic children are typically smart kids with a good reason for struggling to read, write and spell.
At Scottish Rite Learning Center, Keegan began by learning letters and the direction in which we read, from left to right. But in her final class before graduation, she demonstrated her ability to read by picking up the book Heidi and reading it beautifully.
Keegan's mother, Angie, told me at graduation, "To see over the last 3 years her self esteem increase has been the biggest gift for me, as a Mom."
Clayton Elmore also received his graduation certificate Sunday. I remember when I interviewed him two years ago, that he was learning how to put sounds together. His teacher, Linda Stringer, was mouthing each letter sound and having him repeat sequences like "s-t-o-p".
I went back to his last class before graduation and couldn't believe the difference. He too is reading well. Clayton also told me that when he's bored now, he likes to pick up a book and read, something he would not have done two years ago.
Currently, there are 150 Scottish Rite clinics for the learning disabled nationwide. This weekend, 64 area families celebrated what a difference one can make in Lubbock, Texas. Beth Elmore summed it up at the reception after graduation. She said, "I get goose bumps when I hear him read and see what he can do. I'm just thrilled. It makes my heart swell with mommy pride."
The most amazing thing about the Scottish Rite Learning Center is that it's free, thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Masons.
If you would like more information on Scottish Rite, or if you would like to find out if there is a therapist at your child's school who has been trained in the teaching methods of Scottish Rite, call 765-9150.