The Gallery of Champions

Fourth-grader Dalia Jarbouh receives a medal from Sir Cass Garcia of the Knights of the Guild on Tuesday at Mountain View Elementary School in Harker Heights. The Early Act First Knights character education program is active in five Killeen Independent School District schools, handing out medals to students each month for showcasing specific traits. This month’s trait was responsibility.

A new year means a fresh batch of knights in the Early Act First Knight character education program that honors students for displaying chivalrous behavior.

The Knights of the Guild entered the realms of Harker Heights and Killeen Monday and Tuesday, giving out medals for selected students at Mountain View and Harker Heights elementary schools, as well as at West Ward, Reeces Creek and Timber Ridge in Killeen.

At the Harker Heights schools, Sir Cass Garcia reminded students that earning a spot in “the gallery of champions” doesn’t come easy, but requires “taking up the mettle of responsibility.”

Students won medals for showing the trait of responsibility.

Between ceremonies on Monday, third-grader Alexis Bermea spoke confidently about earning her shiny medal.

“I showed a lot of responsibility in my classroom,” she said. “So I can learn quicker and more efficiently without distraction.”

Alexis said responsible behavior in school means finishing your work on time.

Area Rotary Clubs sponsor the character education program which started locally in 2010.

One of the enduring characters Garcia and other knights refer to is Guido, a miniature horse reputed to work hard to win the respect of larger war horses.

New program

Garcia spoke of Sir Timothy, a knight new to the program, who was charged with teaching the miniature steed. The new knight found that like most horses, once Guido’s confidence is gained, the little equine is quick to please its handler.

Like horses that want to succeed, human students must show discipline, respect and responsibility to win the trust of other people, the knight said.

Harker Heights Elementary School first-grade teacher Wendy Boucher said her young students get excited about the monthly character assemblies.

“They get very excited,” she said. “They like to work on the trait. They know what it is and they like to think about who in the class it’s going to be.”

At Mountain View Elementary School on Tuesday, fourth-graders Cady Simpson and Dalia Jarbouh, both student council members, served as knighting ceremony helpers, handing medals to presenters during the ceremonies.

“I think it’s actually pretty cool,” Simpson said. “We get rewarded for what we do. Someone might have a bad day and this cheers them up.”

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