The following information was provided by Brother Cloyd J. Bumgardner, Grand Lodge of Kentucky, Committee on Masonic Education, Past District Deputy Grand Master, Past Grand Pursuivant, and Public Relations Directior of the Somerset Independent School District. This is reprinted here with his permission.
Contact Information for Somerset Independent School District
Somerset Independent Schools
Board of Education
305 College Street
Somerset, Kentucky 42501
"Brothers, I believe that you will find the folllowing history of the Somerset Indepent School District and it's Masnoic Orgins very interesting. What would become the Somerset Indepent School Distict actually began in 1802. After several land grants and other funds were exhausted, Somerset Masonic College #101 erected a school in 1865 to replace the previous school known as Somerset Academy. The Lodge built a three story brick building which was designated a "Masonic College" The Lodge meet on the third floor and classes met on the first two.
Somerset Masonic Lodge #101 dedicated the building in 1867 with a part and dance that lasted two nights and the school was designated a "Masonic College" Somerset High School currently stand son the Masonic College site and the physical address is 305 College Street. As you might guess, College Street was named after the Masonic College and the current school colors are purple and gold. The land was deeded to the Somerset Board of Trustees by Somerset Lodge in 1889.
As a side note, the school mascot is a rabbit and the Somerset School District is the only district in the nation to have a rabbit as their mascot. The rabitt dates from 1917 when three students from Texas (Alvin McMillan, Thad McDonald and James (Red) Weaver) paid tution and joined the SHS Football team. The SHS team played and beat a very good Louisville Boys School ( later to become Louisville Manual and Male) with a impenetrable defense known as the briar patch. The next day in the Louisville Courier Journal newspaper, the sports commentator notied that the boys from Somerset jumped all over the briar patch and the label stuck as Somerset Briar Jumpers. The rabbit mascot alludes to the rabbitt in Uncle remus nursery story who asked not to be thrown in the briar batch. The three students listed above later went to Centere College and plade on the team that beat Harvard in stunnign upset in 1921 with a score of 6-0. This would be comparable to a community college beating Michigan today. A book entiteled, "First Down Kentucky" was written about this game.
Also Sentor John Sherman Cooper is the most famous alumni of the Somerset Indepenet Schools. Senator Cooper graduated from Somerset High School in 1918 and served mandy years in the Unitied States Sentate. He was also a member of the Warren Commission that investigated the assassination of President Kennedy."
Cloyd J. Bumgardner