A network television reality show star last week presented Somerville High School students with a scholarship to pay for renovations to music facilities at the school.
David Olsen, 28, master of Somerville’s Freemasonry Lodge and star of the television series, “Beauty and the Geek,” appeared before the Somerville School Committee on Monday evening to offer $10,000 to Somerville High School.
“With this donation we hope to help promote the arts as an integral part of the educational process in our public school system,” he said. “We’re very interested in the youth of the community and we think music is an important part of establishing good character
Olsen also appeared with Herb W. Mower, treasurer of the Somerville Lodge and Robert J. McNary, chaplain of the Masonic Angel Fund.
According to Mower, the group has been committed to philanthropic contributions outside their organization for as long as he can remember. He said the Freemasons have over three million members allowing them to raise over $2 million dollars a day for various charities.
The donation from a reality television star and a centuries-old organization steeped in history will help pay for renovations to the band and orchestra rooms of the high school.
“How cool is that,” said Ward 1 School Committee member Maureen Bastardi, who said her daughters Jessica and Jillian learned to play instruments in Somerville schools under the instruction of Rick Saunders, the Somerville Public Schools music supervisor.
Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone said he was pleased with the gift the city received. “It’s good to see this type of generosity. It’s certainly appreciated,” he said. Curtatone thanked the Masons by saying that contributions in music and the arts will help further the development of Somerville kids.
Joshua Raymond, a freshman at Somerville High, has been studying under Saunders for five years and said the music program helps open doors to a career as a professional musician. “I just want to show the world I can do it,” he said.
Raymond takes the orange Line three times a week to participate in the Upper City Program at Berklee College of Music, a year-round musical educational program designed to help cultivate musical talent for minority students in grades 6 through 12. “It’s a great way to vibe with other people,” he said.
After high school, Raymond hopes to be accepted into Berklee, where he said he can work hard to become an even better percussionist. “I want them to know what music brings to [my] life.”