Chivalry is Not Dead for the Elks

The number of students who don’t graduate high school is improving, but still staggering. Tampa, Fla., Lodge No. 708 wanted to find a way to do their part in bringing that number closer to zero in their community. Using an Impact Grant, they created and run Club Chivalry for Successful Students.

“The project has been very effective in the goal of motivating the students to be successful and gain a sense of belonging at the school,” says Project Manager Rita Smith.

Two years ago, Club Chivalry began with approximately 50 Elks helping to provide an outlet for 70 high school students that would motivate them to appreciate the importance of schooling. They’re divided by upper and lower classmen, assigned a success coach who works for the school, and given the opportunity to attend field trips hosted by the school and Elks and participate in activities that provoke involvement in the community like Relay for Life.

By becoming involved in projects like Relay for Life, not only are the Elks helping students, but they’re also increasing awareness about the Elks in their community.

“The Relay for Life is the biggest and hardest project to pull off, and it was also a resounding success,” Smith says. “The community exposure, the amount of Elk involvement, and the message of support the event sends to these students is unsurpassed.”

In 2017, 22 students graduated with their class—a 100 percent success rate for Club Chivalry! The previous year was also wildly successful with all 20 students from Club Chivalry graduating with their class, including two students who had purple honor cords for participating in and meeting their goal for Relay for Life.

“I attended the graduation ceremony and it was an incredible feeling to know and recognize all the students who strolled across the stage,” Smith says.

The Lodge has their eyes set on their loftiest goal yet—watching 42 seniors walk across the graduation stage in 2018. They’re also working with underclassmen to ensure they stay on track in the three areas of concern: grade point average, attendance and discipline referrals.

“The Lodge loves this project,” Smith says. “We have high participation, a lot of pride, and kids from the club starting conversations with Elks.”

The Elks National Foundation helps Lodges serve their communities in significant and ongoing ways by awarding Impact Grants of up to $10,000. To find out more about Impact Grants and the Community Investments Program, visit

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