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August 27th, 2008
DS Rotarians bring ‘EarlyAct FirstKnight' to Elementary School

Program will be launched at Rooster Springs Elementary on August 29 at 9 a.m.EarlyAct FirstKnight is an unprecedented academic approach to character and ethics education in the elementary classroom. Rotarian values and history are incorporated in this award-winning program based on the historic theme of noble knights and service above self. The Dripping Springs Rotary Club will launch this program during an amazing live-action student assembly that will feature real jousting knights, costumed warhorses, and dazzling special effects.

“We anticipate a spectacle of action and color that will capture the children’s attention and get them excited and eager to participate in FirstKnight,” said Thad Jarrett, DS Rotary member and chair of community service. “This will be a great learning experience for our kids and a great opportunity for Rotary to become a bigger part of our community.”

EarlyAct FirstKnight is aimed at first through fifth graders and is designed to pass on Rotary-like ideals to schoolchildren through a 10-minute-a-day in-class curriculum and homework assignments. With FirstKnight, each day begins with a recitation of the Rotary Club’s Four-Way Test: “Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?” Students may also achieve rankings such as “Page,” “Squire” and “Knight” through school-wide knighting ceremonies.

While the program will be rolled out at Rooster Springs Elementary this year, the DS Rotary Club intends to grow the program in local schools. Dr. Mard Herrick, DS Rotarian and Superintendent of DSISD remarked, “We want to get the community more involved in our school district, and this is a great way to do that.”

Bonnie Rose, DS Rotary president, said that First Knight has seen great success in the Boerne School District since it was introduced last year. She noted the program is being introduced in San Marcos by SM Rotarians as well. “Children everywhere can benefit from character training and learning right from wrong,” Rose said.

EarlyAct FirstKnight is a program of The Knights of the Guild, a non-profit education services organization, headed by Randall Parr. Mr. Parr was a speaking guest at a DS Rotary Club meeting about eight months ago, and club members, led by Jarrett, have been working to get the program to Dripping Springs since then. Parr is a decorated Naval officer with more than twenty years of experience in creating acclaimed ethics development programs for young people.

Parr is concerned that our children today are suffering from an epidemic that will have a devastating impact upon our world if left unattended. It is called ethical impairment and its symptoms are dishonesty, irresponsibility, disrespect, hatred, jealousy, greed, and indifference to others. Curriculum lessons for EarlyAct First Knights will teach Tolerance, Responsibility, Confidence, Perseverance, Discipline, Respect, Honesty, Compassion, Friendliness, and Service.

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From The Rotary Club of Dripping Springs, TX

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