Honoring Knights of May

HHES Knighting Ceremonies
By: Todd Martin
Harker Heights Elementary School honored its last group of knights for the school year, appropriately giving medals for the trait of perseverance.
Prior to each of two ceremonies Monday, Evan Hodson, a Harker Heights Rotary Club past president, gave the club’s top district award to Principal Carolyn Dugger, who has hosted the character education program at the school 10 years.
Early Act First Knight honors students for displaying traits consistent with medieval knights. They are both men and women who serve their community and consistently show moral character, Dugger said in the ceremony, with parents, students and staff in attendance.
“I feel glad. It makes me happy,” said third-grader Ivelisse Ortiz, recipient of a medal making her a squire in the assembly of champions.
“I got a burst of joy when I found out,” she said, explaining that she received a character education award all three years she has been at the school. “It’s an honor to be knighted.”
Lady Amber Parr of the Knights of the Guild, presented the medals to students. She told a personal story of perseverance and courage.
When she was 12, she said, she loved riding horses, but after attempting a jump she woke up in a hospital injured and didn’t try again until recently.
Determined to overcome past obstacles, Parr said she and a friend agreed to face their fears. It took time, but with the help of a trainer, she said she tried a short jump, then gradually got higher.
“I take classes every week and it’s fun,” Parr said. “It took a lot for me to face my fear and not give up. Sometimes the hardest step you take is the first, but once you take it, you can’t stop.”
“I’m proud of myself,” said third-grader Nataleah Maldonado, who received the medal for perseverance for her class. “I didn’t think I would be knighted.”
She said students receive character awards when they believe in themselves and do what they know is right.
Early Act First Knight began its association with Rotary Clubs in 2006 and the curriculum is now in use in 80 schools from Texas to North Carolina with expansion overseas in the works.