Dozens of students and a pair of Vietnam Era veterans went home Monday night with a new honor after an awards ceremony at Harker Heights Elementary School.

The students received awards for outstanding character traits like respect from a knight dressed in armor. The veterans, who also work at the school, walked away with awards thanking them for their service.

The honorees said they left the event with a greater sense of self-worth.

"There just aren't words to explain how it was back then so to receive recognition after all these years is an honor," Veteran Walter White Sr. said.

Local veteran Jose Charles said he was surprised when his name was called.

"I did not expect this at all but it's an honor," Charles said.

A Harker Heights Elementary student was ecstatic to receive her award.

"I'm glad I get to celebrate this with my parents and it's nice to be celebrated for respect," said fourth grader Gaviota Matias.

The ceremony was part of a Rotary-connected character education program run through KISD.