On October 8 & 9, 2019, the Early Act First Knight (EAFK) program was kicked off in the Faulk and Charlie Marshall Elementary Schools.  This positive, behavior modification program was brought to the Aransas Pass School System by the Rotary Club of Aransas Pass in September 2012.  It was initially introduced in Charlie Marshall Elementary, but due to the positive behavior changes noticed, the program was expanded to include Kieberger Elementary in September 2013. This initially covered grades 2 – 5.  However with the construction of the new Faulk Elementary, the EAFK program was expanded in 2018 by the Rotarians to include the first grade.
The EAFK character-building curriculum includes instruction in virtues highlighted for each six-week period.  These virtues include tolerance, responsibility, confidence, perseverance, patience, respect, and honesty, to name a few.  Students are also taught the Rotarian Four-Way Test that includes asking the following questions:  Is it the truth?  Is it fair to all concerned?  Will it bring good will and better friendships?  Will it be beneficial to all concerned?  
Each six weeks, all teachers from each grade choose one student who has demonstrated the virtue being studied.  This student is then honored at an assembly.  Parents of the chosen students are secretly notified and kept hidden until the student is called to the stage.  There the student is recognized and receives his award with his family in attendance.
Each child receives a certificate from his teacher and a medallion from Sir Cass, a knight from Knights of the Guild.  The fifth grade students also receive special recognition by being knighted.  They kneel on a cushion in front of Sir Cass and as he touches the right shoulder with his sword, he announces “Knight”.  Touching the left shoulder he announces “Champion”.  Touching the right shoulder a second time, he announces “Member of the Gallery”.  Each student then sits in a chair of honor as part of the “Gallery of Champions”.  And these recognized students sit in their “chair of honor” each six weeks until the end of the school year.
The entire program is fun, but respectful.  All students are required to be quiet and participate in the presentations.  Clapping and cheering is allowed, but only when appropriate.  This is a challenge to students in grades 1 – 5, particularly the younger students, but through the work of the principals and teachers and the purpose of the program, it is quite successful.
The Rotary Club of Aransas Pass invests over $7500.00 each year to allow this program to be included in the grades 1 – 5 curriculum.  The Rotary Club of Aransas Pass will continue to support EAFK with time and money and we hope the community of Aransas Pass will too.
Submitted by Karen Gayle, Secretary/Treasurer
Rotary Club of Aransas Pass
October 10, 2019