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Erie youth discover the magic of learning

Nov 29 • News, Top Stories • 1068

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Kappa Delta Phi, Gannon University’s education honors fraternity, cast a spell on the Palumbo Academic Center Nov. 19 for its Harry Potter Carnival.
The carnival was held as a special after-school program for children in the Boys and Girls Club of Erie and a service opportunity for the fraternity members.
Clara Drake, a senior early childhood and special education major and president of Kappa Delta Phi, said the project was also the result of a grant-writing portion of a class she took over the summer.
Robin Quick, Ph.D., an associate professor of education and faculty adviser for the fraternity, taught the class and assigned the grant-writing and planning to her class, which decided on the Harry Potter theme as a way to tie STEM activities and literature into one event.
The event was sponsored by a grant from the National Education Association worth $375. The grant money was used for decorations, food and drink for the children and to purchase a grade-level book for each of the children.
The carnival began by “sorting” the children into the Harry Potter houses – Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin. Each house then went to stations organized by Gannon education majors in the fraternity.
The stations featured STEM and literature themed activities, like a heat-activated map and memorizing lines for a play. The final activity was a Quidditch game that allowed participants to get extra points in a trivia game by tossing a ball through the Quidditch hoop.
After completing each station, the children ate dinner provided by Kappa Delta Phi and collected door prizes including a book, toy wands and instructions for doing the activities at home.
Quick said the carnival was partly for the students in the Boys and Girls Club and a learning experience for the Gannon students. She said it’s the first year the fraternity has done anything like this, but she would like to see it continue.
“Feedback from the children will guide how far we go and what else we’ll do,” Quick said. “I’m incredibly proud of the students.”
Drake said she was happy with the turnout for the carnival, and what the volunteers were able to do with the decorations.
“I’m amazed even in ourselves,” Drake said.
Annie Hatton, a senior middle-level math and English education major, said she was happy with the turnout as well.
“I think it’s good that we branched out with the range of students,” Hatton said.
The Boys and Girls Club brought students from grades 5-8, and Hatton said the carnival gave students a greater variety working with children in areas they were comfortable teaching.
“Overall, all the [students] are getting great experience and genuine experiences as a teacher,” Hatton said.
Drake said acting as president of Kappa Delta Phi has helped her prepare for her career in teaching, especially in planning activities like the carnival.
After graduation, Drake said she would love to get a job teaching K-3 in an inner city.
“They need the love and support more,” Drake said. “You might be the only person at an adult level that tells them they did a good job.”
Sheldon Williams, the program director for the Boys and Girls Club of Erie, said he liked the approach to the carnival.
“I’m pleased and I can only hope it’s something that continues,” Williams said. “[It’s] educational and entertaining at the same time.”
Williams said he thinks it’s good Gannon makes an effort to show its educational opportunities early.
“It’s really important to plant those seeds at the middle school level,” Williams said. “Any exposure these kids have at Gannon University can only be good.”
KELSEY GHERING
ghering001@knights.gannon.edu

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dazavirez
dazavirez

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