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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

School students ‘Knighted’ by Fort Hood Soldiers

School students ‘Knighted’ by Fort Hood Soldiers

Sara Escobar

Evening Star

On Monday, April 17, soldiers in the 3rd Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood presented an award for good character to five students at Harker Heights Elementary School. This comes in part by a program called Early Act First Knight, in participation with the Harker Heights Rotary Club, that works to honor character education among elementary and middle schools. Some schools such as Haynes Elementary began participating in the knighting ceremonies as early as 2015, but Harker Heights Elementary is the only school in the city who not only participates in the knighting ceremonies, but invites Ft. Hood soldiers to present the award as well.

“The soldiers at 3CR are a part of our adopt a school program, so they’re generous enough to help with many different events and activities throughout the year.” said Principal Carolyn Dugger, who’s been with the school since 2002. “We wanted the soldiers to be a part of the knighting ceremony because our soldiers are modern day knights. They serve and protect the community, and provide freedom for our country.” Principal Dugger herself is a Rotarian at the local rotary club, and she also says the program utilizes solid character building and respect.

The knighting ceremony takes place at the school six times a year, and even includes an armored knight who attends to truly enchant the children with the experience. Five students are selected from first to fifth grade—each ceremony, a new character trait is focused on, and this particular ceremony’s trait was perseverance. Teacher’s hand-selected the students they thought to exhibit this characteristic best.

Corporal Christian Cortez and Corporal Cody Guion attended the event and helped present the students with their awards, a medallion that was bestowed upon the young students. “The opportunity to volunteer at this school was a great experience,” said Corporal Cortez after the ceremony. “The families within the school system are primarily low-income, so being able to show not only the children but their family that they have an opportunity to become a part of something bigger than themselves with hard work and perseverance is extremely rewarding.”

“We want to enforce that good character, education, and relationship building go hand in hand, and they all hold the same significance,” says Principal Dugger. “We try to teach our students to take care of themselves and those around them. When soldiers from 3CR come in their dress blues, present an award and shake their hands, you see them experience pride, integrity and responsibility. This is what we strive for.” For more information about upcoming events at Harker Heights Elementary School, call 254 336 2050.

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