Crockett Elementary Students and Principal Rick LaBuhn pose with banner proclaiming their title. Photo by Gracie Campos.
The San Marcos Rotary Club’s Early Act First Knight (EAFK) program uses the codes of an idealized medieval knighthood to teach students how to be honorable and positive influences in their schools and community. The pilot program last year at Crockett Elementary School met with such success that it has now expanded to include Travis Elementary School.
The “Tournament of Champions” was held in late October and started off the EAFK program for 2009-20210. Students from Crockett and Travis Elementary Schools cheered for their champions and saw a bit of what it took to be a knight. Classes were entertained, as well as educated, by the jousting knights in armor and other authentic medieval costumes.
The EAFK program is taught as another cirriculum course. Students gather for ten minutes to participate in a discussion or an activity focusing on character building. They learn about knighthood and understand that there is a long process involved in becoming a knight.
At the end of each month, students are recognized by their teachers, who read an accolade about them. The student then approaches a senior knight and kneels before him for recognition. Kindergarteners and first-graders receive the title of “Page,” first and second graders are called “Squire,” and third and fourth graders earn the “Knight” title. In fifth grade, the student receives the title of the “Order.”
“I hope that through the explicit teaching of values and virtues of good character that Travis students will learn how to make responsible choices in this very fast-paced, unpredictable world in which we live,” said Travis Principal Niki Konecki.
Konecki said, “EAFK is designed to educate the heart and teach those life lessons that are often left out due to a rigorous academic curriculum. It is a revolutionary, research-based character education program. Teachers find themselves competing with television, computers, video games, iPods, and much more. EAFK is a unique program that will reach and motivate the students at Travis Elementary.”
This is Crockett’s second year to participate in the program. At the First Annual EAFK Conference in Boerne, Crockett received recognition as “The Best Early Act First Knight Program” from among the 25 active programs throughout Texas and Oklahoma.
“We have seen a decrease in discipline referrals, a decrease in bus discipline referrals, and our kids are able to recite the 4-Way Test from memory,” said Crockett Elementary Principal Rick LaBuhn. “We have a more positive atmosphere on our campus and a greater sense of commitment to being good citizens. Our students are also recognizing the value of placing ‘service before self’.”
The famous Rotary 4-Way test is four questions a member is encouraged to ask themselves before speaking: 1.) Is it the truth? 2.) Is it fair to all concerned? 3.) Will it build good and better friendships? 4.) Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
While EAFK is sponsored by Rotary Clubs around the state, it is a proprietary research-based program of Knights of The Guild, an organization run by former Navy Chaplain Randall Parr. EAFK is a program available exclusively for Rotary Clubs to use in their communities. More information is available about Knights of the Guild at Randallparr.com.
Travis Elementary Asst Principal Brooke Neal helps Brandon Corona-Patton reach out to touch Maximillian, one of the world’s largest horses at more than 19 hands high, and technically considered one of the celebrated breed of “high” horses. Photo by Iris Campbell.
One of the “Knights” at the tournament. Photo by Iris Campbell.