Darcy Dunn, a graduate of The College of Saint Rose, was recently named a recipient of the Friday Knights Programs Service Award for her work during the past three years volunteering with students with special needs.
The award is given to senior students and graduate students who have provided consistent service and leadership within the Friday Knights Programs for Children with Autism.
“For the last three years, I was an activities director planning games to help students socialize and have a night out with other students,” Dunn, a Gloversville resident, said during a phone interview. “They were held five nights per semester, three different sessions with students ranging from middle school to high school.”
Dunn enrolled in the Saint Rose five-year educational program, earning her bachelor’s degree in social studies adolescent education and was awarded a master’s degree in special education earlier this month.
The focus each session involved social studies, but with a higher level of engagement.
“I used card games and scavenger hunt-style games, modified for each grade level,” Dunn said. “For the elementary session, it would be a fun mystery or an escape room-type scavenger hunt.
“I would hand the kids clues and then help them with hint cards. For the middle-schoolers and high-schoolers, I didn’t need hint cards; they worked together to figure it out.”
The themes of each night included famous scientists, a look back at the Jamestown settlers, World War I and World War II.
“That’s why I chose to do games, to have that kind of team interaction or partner interaction, instead of school where it tends to be more individual work in class,” Dunn said.
Social studies as a topic was ideal for the 2015 Mayfield High School graduate.
“Social studies was my favorite and best subject in school, and I had some amazing social studies teachers throughout my years,” Dunn said. “I always wanted to teach, so I figured out social studies was the way to go. Once I got into college and I started volunteering with Friday Knights, I just fell in love with the idea of special education.”
Dunn was nominated for the award by Susan DeLuke, advisor to the Friday Knights Program.
“It means a lot to me because I loved every one of the kids that came to my room,” Dunn said.
Contact Stan Hudy at [email protected].