LISBON FALLS — Samuel Goldsberry is an 18-year-old with a tuxedo and a busy year ahead.
He was elected state master councilor in June to the Maine DeMolay Association, the top state seat of a fraternal group for boys aged 12 to 21 that’s about courtesy, comradeship, patriotism and, sometimes, Sea Dogs and paintball.
It’s also about protocol — the tux is for his official state master duties. Twice-monthly chapter meetings are suit-and-tie affairs for all, which, Goldsberry said, can strike some teenagers as a little too formal.
“Most kids don’t really want to get dressed up in suits — ‘Oh, that’s no fun’ — but we do also have fun activities. We have to find that balance,” he said. Plus: “It is kind of cool going out in tuxedos.”
Goldsberry graduated from Lisbon High School in June, where he ran track. He joined DeMolay in 2007 (the organization is named after a grand master of the Knights Templar killed in 1314).
The state has roughly 40 members in four chapters, including one in Auburn that meets in the Masonic Hall. One of Goldsberry's platforms when he ran for the top office was increasing membership.
Massachusetts has 16 chapters. He recently spoke in front of that state’s leaders, bringing greetings from Maine.
“Seeing them thrive and be successful was, ‘I want to bring that to Maine,’” Goldsberry said. “Bring back the ideas that turn them into a powerhouse.”
Before joining, “I was a really shy kid, I would never talk in front of anyone,” he said. “It’s kind of opened the world of public speaking.”
His chapter often has one charity it supports at a time. Teens plan their own fundraisers and fun events, such as a Sea Dogs game on Sunday and paintball next month. They’ve toured the Blaine House, visited Six Flags and gotten a peek around the Shriner's Hospital in Massachusetts.
“It was touching,” he said. “It was really nice to see what your money goes to.”
Goldsberry will enter Central Maine Community College this fall. He has his classes piled into three days to free up the rest of his schedule for DeMolay travel and duties, and for squeezing in a little disc golf.
He'd love to end 2011 with 100 members. Some, like him, apply to be Masons when they turn 18, some don't.
Next year, Goldsberry would like to transfer to the University of Maine, maybe for computer science, where the tux can stay tucked in his closet.
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