Back in October 2020, I started the Knights of the Mightier Pen as a response to COVID-related restrictions putting the kibosh on extracurricular activities. Our Regis Knights needed outlets for their energies, but the school's precautions made the normal after-school activities impossible for a time. I figured that since so much of what we were doing had been moved to on-line formats, why not one more thing? I concluded the first Mightier Pen post with this paragraph:
Each Friday starting 6 November, I shall throw down the gauntlet in the form of a writing challenge. Regis Knights who have chosen to join the Mightier Pen Knights may pick up that gauntlet and complete the challenge. By doing so, a student enters the Hall of Heroes and may even earn the honor of having his work featured in a blogpost.
And, for several weeks, it all worked well. Sort of. Between October 2020 and the end of January 2021, I tossed down a total of five gauntlets. Those who are good at counting may note that five in about four months is not one writing challenge each week. A small number of students answered my challenges with about a dozen submissions. The last challenge, the one from January 2021, remains unanswered. I didn't post again to this site until near the end of April 2021. If the Knights of the Mightier are to survive, we need a reboot.
One challenge a week from me is unrealistic. I know that now. It's not so much that I can't come up with a weekly challenge as it is that each challenge which solicits responses obliges me to devote time to each student's submission. Posting to the site and updating the Hall of Heroes also takes time. It all adds up. Also, our Regis Knights are busy gentlemen and scholars, and this next year they'll be busier as it seems likely that COVID-related restrictions shall continue to vanish, which means their usual extracurricular activities shall return. With all the additional options and demands, this attractions of this project may become increasingly small.
So, when the new school year begins in August 2021, I shall endeavor to post a challenge twice a month. The more leisurely pace affords me more time for reading, site maintenance, et cetera, and affords the students more time to craft their submissions.
If you look at the Hall of Heroes, you'll notice that each student has a rank followed by a parenthetical number. For example, Tate C. is a Page (2). This means he's answered two writing challenges. Presumably, by diligent effort, Tate C. shall continue to advance in rank.
But what does this mean?
The three basic steps of knighthood are Page, Squire, and Knight. Knighthood is conferred via the accolade, at which time the squire is dubbed a knight. Within the rank of knight, there are distinctions, such as knight-errant, knight bachelor, knight banneret, et cetera. These distinctions may prove useful for the Knights of the Mightier Pen.
Advancement is based primarily on accepting and meeting challenges. Each challenge earns a point, so to speak. After a certain number points are earned, the Page becomes a Squire becomes a Knight, and so forth.
With the slower pace planned for the coming school year, it makes sense to scale the number of points need to advance downward. (Not that I ever really had any hard, fast numbers in mind to begin with.) I'm thinking three points reaches Squire, and four points reaches Knight. Going this route, I owe Dominic H. a promotion, along with the attendant honors.
Page: Entry into the Hall of Heroes suffices for the honor bestowed upon a Page. A Page also receives a Coat of Arms, which is displayed in the Hall of Heroes. After this, additional honors ought to be conferred.
Squire: A Page reaching the rank of Squire shall be bequeathed a Certificate of Merit in a public ceremony. Our morning assembly is an ideal venue for this sort of thing.
Knight: A Squire reaching the rank of Knight shall receive the accolade in a public ceremony. This should include the new Knight receiving his nom de plume, an additional title suffixed to his name. (This also gives me an excuse to bring my sword to school.)
I like the idea of adding additional ranks beyond Knight. I'll have to hammer out those details. Also, since Knights compete in tournaments, maybe I need to plan some sort of writing tournament? I've never done this sort of thing, so I'll likely need to seek out some expert help.
The Knights of the Mightier Pen gather in the hallowed halls of the Regis School in Houston, Texas, to share their tales and poems.