Peru Masons award $2,000 in scholarships

2 students receive awards

Scholarship winner Ellissa Pelka (center) stands with her parents Michelle (left) and Phil Sterba (right). Representing St. John’s Lodge No. 13 are Junior Deacon Jeff Glade (far left) and Secretary Larry Lawson (far right). Vocational scholarship winner Jessina Javier Avarca was unable to attend the dinner.

St. John’s Lodge No. 13 Ancient Free & Accepted Masons of Peru awarded $2,000 in scholarships during a recent gathering with members and the winners at the Peru Masonic Center.

Jessina Javier Avarca was the winner of the lodge’s $1,000 vocational scholarship. Avarca is a first-generation college level student, and is enrolled in the Truck Driver Training program at Illinois Valley Community College.

Ellissa Pelka was named the recipient of a $1,000 academic scholarship. Pelka will be attending Illinois State University in Normal, where she plans on majoring in Early Childhood Education.

Fundraisers, such as the recent Memorial Day cookout, which raised close to $1,000, and assistance from the Illinois Masonic Children’s Assistance Program, are what make scholarships like these possible for area students.

St. John’s Lodge No. 13 is one of the oldest continuously operating organizations in La Salle County, established on Oct. 4, 1842, and meeting in the same location on Fourth Street in Peru since 1896. For more information on masonry, or to look into becoming a member, check out the Illinois Grand Lodge webpage at

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