Students at Parkdale Elementary will spend the year immersed in chivalry, valor and armor as a new character education program comes to their school. It is called Early Act First Knight, a program that teaches character values to school-aged children in an effort to motivate them toward good behavior and help them grow to be successful, service-oriented adults.
The medieval experience began with a Tournament of Champions on Friday, September 18, at the Extraco Events Center. The entire Parkdale student body witnessed knights and ladies competing in jousting and swashbuckling on horseback, all blended with important lessons in compassion, fairness and honesty.
The tournament and yearlong curriculum are sponsored by Northwest Waco Rotary Club, which has made investing in character education for youth a primary goal. The Early Act First Knight program is designed to work in conjunction with the Rotary 4-Way Test to help teach children to become civic-minded people during their formative years.The program provides a daily curriculum that focuses on important character traits including respect, personal responsibility, honesty, compassion, fairness, tolerance and service to others. Parkdale will begin a student-led service club that provides a real-world application of the curriculum lessons.
At the end of each grading period, a student in each grade who has best exemplified that period’s traits is selected and honored at a "knighting" ceremony hosted by the EAFK Knights of the Guild in full costume. For these ceremonies, Northwest Waco Rotary Club will provide set decorations to transform the school cafeteria into a castle.
The Parkdale project is the first EAFK program sponsored in a Central Texas school; dozens of others are in place at schools throughout Texas. For more information about the program, contact Northwest Waco Rotary Club president Anna Dunbar at 254-709-6181 or firstname.lastname@example.org.