Lower School Embraces Early Act Program

School Updates

Character, leadership, and service are the key components of a program incorporated into the San Marcos Academy Lower School this year. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of San Marcos (which meets weekly at SMA), Early Act is a service program for elementary students from ages 5 to 13.  The mission of Early Act is to promote goodwill, understanding, and peace through the active participation of its student members so that with committed citizenship and effective leadership, they may improve the quality of life in their school, community, and global community. Its operation is closely linked to the ideals of Rotary, Service Above Self, and provide the foundation and natural succession into service clubs. At its core, Early Act involves character education, leadership development, and service projects.

students on stage wearing medals
Knighted in October for demonstrating the trait of Friendliness are Grace Skidmore (4th), Harlee Rains (1st), Lily Dawkins (K), Easton Spruiell (3rd), Parker Nicholson (2nd), and Erin Roberts (5th).

Character Education

Early Act teaches and promotes positive character qualities such as friendliness, respect, compassion, discipline, and service. Each month, SMA Lower School students will learn a Bible verse associated with that month’s character trait, and the student in each grade who best exemplifies that character trait will be knighted and presented with a medallion at a Friday Chapel. The first knighting ceremony took place on October 30.

Here are the six character traits and associated Bible verses that will be implemented this year:

  •          October – Friendliness (Proverbs 18:24)
  •          November/December – Honesty (Proverbs 12:17)
  •          January – Compassion (Ephesians 4:32)
  •          February – Respect (I Peter 2:17)
  •          March – Discipline (Galatians 5:32)
  •          April – Service (Matthew 5:16)
Ms. Amy Bawcom knights third grader Easton Spruiell during chapel on October 30.
Ms. Amy Bawcom knights third grader Easton Spruiell during chapel on October 30. The knighting ceremony recalls the days of medieval knights and the chivalric code of the King Arthur legend.

Leadership Development

Each month, the Early Act Council will meet to help plan service projects and learn about leadership. The council will consist of two students each from grades 3-5, but it will be different students each month so that all students will have a chance to learn more about service and leadership. They will learn the basics of meeting protocol, from creating an agenda to parliamentary procedure. Later in the spring, the Council will lead a San Marcos Rotary Club meeting program to share with them what they have learned during the year. Each meeting and each knighting ceremony will end with a recitation of the Four-Way Test, an ethical code which Rotarians have adopted as one of their guiding principles.

Principal Steven McCray puts the Early Act medal around the neck of second grader Parker Nicholson.
Principal Steven McCray puts the Early Act medal around the neck of second grader Parker Nicholson.

Service Projects

Service projects make up the final component of Early Act. Each year, the Council will choose a local project and an international project. For 2020-2021, the local Early Act project will be supporting the homeless in San Marcos , while the international project will support children with cancer in Mexico. For the local project, SMA students and their families will work with the Home Center of Central Texas by filling bags with food, snacks, or sundry items for the homeless of San Marcos. The HOME Center (Homeless Outreach, Mitigation, and Emergency Center) unites community efforts to comprehensively prevent and address homelessness and educate the community about it as an issue. Each grade level will collect items for one month (teachers will notify parents about the particular item to be gathered and the month of its distribution).

Kindergarten students with teacher Hannah Durrace, president of the non-profit organization.
Kindergarten classes collected food items during October for their contribution to the Home Center of Central Texas. With the students and their teachers is Hannah Durrace, president of the non-profit organization.

For our international project, all students throughout the year will collect plastic bottle caps which will be shipped to Mexico to be melted down. The Heart of Faith Ministries in San Luis, Potosi then uses these funds to provide chemotherapy treatments for children with cancer in Mexico. Students can turn in bottle caps to their teacher all year long, and all Academy families are welcome to participate in this effort.

Ms. Amy Bawcom, Vice President of Development and a member of the San Marcos Rotary Club, will serve as the sponsor for the Early Act Council and as a liaison to Rotary. Mrs. Diana Lucas and Mrs. Chris Goode will be the faculty sponsors for Early Act.

Harlee Rains, from the first grade, being knighted by Ms. Bawcom.
Harlee Rains, from the first grade, is knighted by Ms. Bawcom.

A fun part of this character program will be our culminating event, the “Medieval Feast” in late April, which will involve the entire Lower School.  This program, along with our DeepRoots Bible curriculum, will provide an in-depth spiritual framework for our children.  

The Medieval Feast, held in the spring of 2020.
The Medieval Feast, held in the spring of 2020.