In October 2022, the Rotary Club of Corpus Christi informed EarlyAct FirstKnight (EAFK) that they needed to make a presentation about the effectiveness of EAFK for the
Student Heath Advisory Council for Corpus Christi ISD.
Corpus Christi Rotarians persuaded the school district to compile hard numbers  for this Student Health Advisory Council meeting since the district was examining the effectiveness of every independent program in their School District, keeping those that work and axing the rest.
The Corpus Christi ISD compiled behavioral data for the Council, comparing their elementary schools that have been using EAFK from 2014-2020  with their campuses that do not use EAFK.  Please see link below to review and please share with your local elementary principals.
Anecdotally, the results are pretty much the same at each EAFK campus throughout Texas.


District 5890 EarlyAct FirstKnight Committee: 
Charlie and Tommie Buscemi
Phone:  281-359-7193 (Office), 713-598-7129 (Cellular)
Email: or

Start a LEGACY in your community! 

For the FIRST TIME EVER IN ROTARY'S 117-YEAR HISTORY, EarlyAct FirstKnight (EAFK) Academic Character-Building Curriculum puts Rotary ideals into public and private school classrooms each and every day of school for the entire school-year.   This involves 100% of the Kindergarten through 5th grade students at the campus, or 6th - 8th grade students in middle school.
EAFK is unlike any character education program in existence because it works.  EAFK is research-based, and up to 100% of participating campuses experience increased academic performance and decreased student behavioral incidents, some up to 75%.
Since Interact clubs can be in middle and high school campuses, image the Interact club's growth when the EAFK students from your elementary school starts middle school, or your middle school EAFK campus moves to high school!

Cutting Edge Component

Another cutting-edge EAFK component of interest to educators is the evolution from a solely “character education” program to an “SEL” (Social/Emotional Learning) program, addressing social skills in our curriculum in addition to character building.

20.5 years! 

With 177 days of school...from the first day of kindergarten to the last day of 5th grade, each EAFK student will have recited Rotary's Four-Way Test the equivalent of a Rotarian reciting it over a 20.5 year period!

EAFK 10-minute, daily curriculum taught by teachers

Sponsored by Rotary Clubs, EarlyAct FirstKnight™ (EAFK) is a year-round social skills, character and service education program for elementary and middle schools that, for the first time ever, puts Rotary into daily mainstream public education.  CLICK HERE to read the "2021-2022 EAFK Handbook for Rotarians"

EAFK is unlike any character education program in existence because it works.  EAFK is research-based, and up to 100% of participating campuses experience increased academic performance and decreased student behavioral incidents, some up to 75%. Teachers reclaim valuable teaching time, on average of 45 minutes per day. “Recognized” and “Acceptable” rated schools often become “Exemplary”, and through EAFK parent education, parental participation in campus life is enhanced, as are home relationships.
EAFK is not just a voluntary service program for a few good kids to participate in. Using Rotary’s Four Way Test as a modern code of chivalry, EAFK is a required, curriculum-based course of daily study for each student at every grade level, from Kinder through 8th grade.
EAFK is a comprehensive program that is designed to be permanently integrated into the academic agenda and affect the entire culture of participating campuses.
Each school day, 100% of the K-5th grade or 6th - 8th grade students recite Rotary's Four-Way Test, and they  know it by heart.  Below, hear the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students recite it during one of their monthly EAFK Knighting Award Ceremonies.
100% of the EAFK campuses* report an increase in academic performance, and a decrease in behavior problems/referrals.  EAFK is research-based, meaning that each facet of the program is scientifically evaluated to validate its effectiveness upon student behavior and academic performance at each participating campus.
EAFK also gathers data from schools that helps us maintain a strong, positive relationship with administrators, faculty members and parents. With tens of thousands of children now participating in EarlyAct FirstKnight™ daily, all of our schools report student academic performance going up, and discipline problems coming down.  This means that EAFK is making the teacher’s job easier, allowing them more time to do what they do best.
EAFK is a "project" and like other major projects, there is a cost but also a huge return on investment for the school & community.
It is not an official Rotary Program like Interact, Rotary Youth Exchange, or RYLA. 
EAFK costs are charged by campus and based upon the number of classrooms, not by the number of students enrolled.  Below is an example of First Year costs for a school with 31 classrooms (about 700 K-5th grade students) per school year.  There is a REDUCTION in costs for the second and subsequent years.  Prices are subject to change. 

First Year: $6,020 (Averages about $8.60 per student for the entire school year) Includes:

  • Teacher & Staff Training
  • Curriculum Lease for each classroom in all grade levels
  • Online Teacher Support
  • Six (6) Knighting Award Ceremonies (3 in First Semester & 3 in Second Semester
  • EAFK Student Award Medals for Knighting Ceremonies
  • Basic EAFK Kickoff Orientation for Students (there are two other options, but most schools select the Basic version for the first year)

SECOND YEAR & SUBSEQUENT Years: $4,970 (averages about $7.10 per student for entire school year)

Includes all of the same activities as for First Year, but the Curriculum Lease costs is reduced by $1,050.00
Character Education has been the main academic focus of EAFK since 2006. We are now adding SEL (social/emotional learning) to our instruction material in order to help students acquire life skills needed to adapt to our changing world.
Character Education primarily focuses on developing morally responsible individuals. SEL, however, goes further by teaching students the importance of qualities such as being self-aware, developing relationships and making appropriate, responsible, and practical decisions. SEL also provides opportunities for individuals to understand why they have the perspective they do and helps form their values and beliefs.
Note:  Teaching social skills and good character traits effectively to a media-dominated generation is difficult.   Quality expectations are higher and attention spans are shorter; Instruction must be frequent, repetitive, strongly reinforced, made relevant, exciting and rewarding to children in order to form positive habits. EAFK creatively accomplishes this through its unique method of making the subject material come alive in an exciting, pervasive experience rather than a boring course of study

SEL Core Skills Being Employed

1. Self Awareness - Recognition of one’s emotions, goals and values
2. Self Management - Regulation of one’s emotions and behaviors
3. Social Awareness - Understanding and compassion for others’ cultures
4. Relationship Skills - Establish and maintain healthy relationships
5. Responsible Decision-Making - Making positive choices involving one’s behavior

Curriculum Traits

Each month, the principal will select one of the following virtues to be taught daily by the classroom teach to their students.  The daily curriculum provides daily, age-appropriate character-building instruction for the entire campus, starting with the first day of kindergarten to the last day of 5th grade.  Using simple 10-minute lessons, the eafk curriculum offers age-approptiabe lessons in social/emotional development and character building. 
* - Indicates New or Evolving trait
1. Compassion (is now Empathy*) The dynamics of developing a deep awareness of the suffering of another accompanied by the with to relieve it
2. Discipline (is now Self-Discipline*) Training and control of oneself and one’s conduct, typically for personal improvement
3. Friendliness (is now Kindness*) Enhancing the state or quality of being kind; showing good will; benevolence; or beneficence of action of manner
4. Honesty (is now Integrity*) Encouraging the qualities of truthfulness and sincerity
5. Tolerance (is now Acceptance*) The capacity for, or the practice of, recognizing and respecting the beliefs of practices of others without compromising one’s own
6. Kindness* The sincere and voluntary use of one’s time, talent and resources to better the lives of others, one’s own life and the world
7. Courage* The state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence and resolution; bravery
8. Integrity* The quality of steadfast adherence to a strict moral code; doing what you said you would do
9. Confidence Creating the belief or conviction that an outcome will be favorable 2022-23 Curriculum Upgrade 2
10. Trustworthiness (will be integrated into “Integrity and “Responsibility”) The state or quality of being reliable
11. Perseverance Developing steady persistence in adhering to a course of action, a belief or a purpose
12. Respect To feel or show deferential regard for others; esteem or admiration
13. Responsibility The quality of being responsible, accountable, or answerable
14. Service Contribution to the welfare of others
15. Citizenship The state of being vested with the rights, privileges and duties of a citizen; the character of an individual as a member of society

New SEL Lessons and Exercises

1. Recognizing and processing emotions
Learning how to understand, make sense of, and deal with emotions in healthy, productive ways
2. Anger management
How to process anger; development of qualities such as thinking before speaking, calmly expressing concerns, and listening
3. Conflict resolution
Developing the process by which two or more parties can reach a peaceful resolution to a dispute
4. Communication skills
Learning to listen, and then being concise with your message in as few words as possible. Techniques such as making eye contact while speaking, listening, being polite, proper greetings, making introductions and other social qualities are discussed 2022-23 Curriculum Upgrade 3
5. Acknowledging diversity
Affirming people and recognizing their differences without feeling like you must compromise your own
6. Coping skills/managing stress
Developing the thoughts and behaviors we engage in that help us manage distressing situations. Anti-bullying and cyber-bullying strategies are discussed.
7. Curiosity
Encouraging inquisitive thinking such as exploration, investigation, and learning, evident by observation in others
8. Self-awareness
Developing the ability to see oneself clearly and objectively through reflection and introspection
While the academics of EAFK teach children "why we serve", the program’s Rotarian-led student service clubs teach them how it’s done.  
Members of the Rotary club should attend each meeting. Just like Rotary, Interact, and Rotaract clubs, their EAFK Service Club elects officers, has by-laws and a constitution, does service projects, and recites the Four-Way Test.
The school's EAFK Service Club consists of student officers and class reps who identify philanthropic needs, plan solutions, and then direct the entire school in facilitating one local and one global service project per year.
They meet twice monthly for 30 minutes and their meeting is conducted like a traditional Rotary meeting. At the end of the school year, the EAFK Service Club officers should be invited to their sponsoring Rotary club's weekly meeting, and they will be in charge of running the club meeting. 

District 5890 has 14 eafk campuses with over 10,000 students

EAFK is not just a voluntary service program for a few good kids to participate in. Using Rotary’s Four Way Test as a modern code of chivalry, EAFK is a required, curriculum-based course of daily study for each student at every grade level, from Kindergarten through 8th grade. EAFK is a comprehensive program that is designed to be permanently integrated into the academic agenda and affect the entire culture of participating campuses.
Jessup Elementary School (Pasadena ISD)
Beta Academy (Private School)
Gregg Elementary School (Houston ISD)
Sanchez Elementary School (Houston ISD)
St. Christopher's Catholic School
Love Elementary School (Houston ISD)
Cimarron Elementary School (Galena Park ISD)
Cloverleaf Elementary School (Galena Park ISD)
Crenshaw Elementary School (Channelview ISD)
Harvey Brown Elementary School (Galena Park ISD)


EAFK can be started any month of the school year, although most start either at the beginning of the first or second semester, respectively. There is a training held at the campus for the staff, plus there is also a one-hour training for the Rotarians, usually held the same day.   The EAFK staff will provide an access code to the online curriculum for each grade level, and once the school receives their code, all that the teachers will need to do is log on and follow the simple, 10-minute daily lesson plans.


Click here to read “2021-2022 Principal’s Welcome Letter” by Dr. Kasey Blomquist, Principal of Raye-Allen Elementary in Temple ISD