Knighting Ceremony

On the evening of May 11, 2017, Rocky Mountain Classical Academy (RMCA) held its second annual Knighting and Nobility Awards Ceremony. For School Year 2016-17, 356 K-8 Campus students earned either a Knighthood or a Nobility Award. Selected students and their families were invited to the ceremony, based on teacher recommendations and the earning of character “Knights” cards. Ms. Christianna Fogler, Headmaster, presided and invested the students with their awards.

Character education is a crucial element within RMCA’s classical education program. The school’s community mandated its inclusion within the founding documents. To ensure RMCA develops educated citizens of character, the school’s “Knight Card” program permits faculty and staff to recognize personally those students demonstrating our highest ideals and character traits. Akin to Knights overcoming challenges, Knight Cards represent distinct achievement and demonstration of important traits.

RMCA students selected and defined our school’s character traits. The word “KNIGHTS” represents the traits, which are as follows:

Kindness, Nobility, Integrity, Generosity, Honesty, Trustworthiness, Self-awareness

As seen in medieval literature, knighting celebrated more than individual fighting abilities. Lords and Ladies expected the highest standards of character and behavior from their Knights, including nobility, generosity, and humility. RMCA’s character traits fulfill the highest ideals of knighthood and American citizenship.

Students bestowed knighthoods earned at least one Knight Card for each character trait or were teacher-nominated. Students receiving a Nobility Award earned five or more Knight Cards. Winners of a nobility award received a certificate and medallion. Each Knight received a certificate and tee shirt, plus investiture via the customary shoulder tapping with a sword.

At the end of last year’s ceremony, Elementary School Counselor Mrs. Dana Woods and her planning team remarked how they would like to grow the significance of knighting. As Mrs. Woods explained, “This year, we increased student recognition by 30 percent. We didn’t make it easier. We made it more desirable, and the students responded.”

Mrs. Jesse Wretlind, Middle School Counselor, agreed, “We saw major growth within the student body’s desire to become knighted. Middle School students typically become cynical about such awards, but not this one.”

For School Year 2017-18, major changes are afoot. The Elementary School will hold an evening Knighting and Nobility Awards Ceremony similar to those of the past two years. The Middle School, however, will convert to a student-run House Order system. Grades 6-8 will have twelve homerooms, each mixing students from those grades. The homerooms will take the name of one of the Arthurian Knights of the Round Table. During the school year, each House will plan and deliver at least one school assembly. Each quarter, the Houses will compete for the Quarterly Cup, and at year’s end, the House with the most points wins the King Arthur Cup, the Championship of Knights.

As in the Harry Potter films, teachers and administration may award points for positive accomplishments, and they may deduct points for various infractions. Each house will track its points via their House President, Vice President, Scribe, and Accountant. Upper-grade students will fill the higher leadership positions and mentor younger students. As Administrator Dr. Steven Pomeroy, commented, “A student cannot learn to lead others until he or she learns to lead himself or herself. This provides a framework for leadership education and training.” He explained, “One learns leadership by study and practice. It is not innate. You have to work at it.”

Mrs. Leslie Winzenried, one of next year’s two K-8 Assistant Principals, expanded on that theme, stating, “Character, leadership, self-management, and education coalesce to teach students the joy in doing the right thing in the right way at the right time for the right reasons.” She added, “When Mrs. Woods, Mrs. Wretlind, and I, plus many others, initially proposed the system, we wanted responsibility and accountability placed upon our older students. This does it, and it gives the elementary students something to look forward to.”

During the summer of 2017, RMCA will release further details about the House Order system.