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Playing to Her Strengths

In her 22 years as a teacher, Darcy Kennedy taught future doctors, lawyers, actors and even two judges—the types of students any teacher would dream of having in her classroom. But when she looks back at her teaching career, those star students aren’t the ones who stand out the most. Instead, it’s the ones who barely made it—the ones who needed more attention and effort to succeed.

“One parent came to me and said I saved her son’s life,” said Mrs. Kennedy, a member of Piney Creek DAR Chapter, Centennial, Colo. “He was on a really rough path. I was able to spend time with him and learn who he was instead of being afraid of him.”

For the last 11 years, Mrs. Kennedy taught at a charter school that served primarily an at-risk student body—students and families who had challenges in their life whether it be academic, socio-economic or language hurdles.

“It was almost like a one-room school, and I taught everything from math and science to
history and language arts. I mentored and worked one-on-one with them to help these students finish their education.”

She also regularly took her students, many of whom were English language learners, to local naturalization ceremonies where they handed out flags and ushered new citizens to their seats. 

“I thought it was important for them to know their responsibilities as citizens, and to see that immigrants were and still are the foundation of our country,” she said. 

Her class also routinely participated in the DAR American History Essay Contest—two of her students read their essays at a 2016 chapter meeting—and helped with community projects led by the Piney Creek DAR Chapter. They celebrated Constitution Week by memorizing the preamble to the Constitution and listening to stories about Mrs. Kennedy’s father, who served in World War II and the Korean War.  

The charter school closed earlier this year, but Mrs. Kennedy is still serving non-
traditional learners as a student services adviser at an online college. Using email, phone calls and text messages, her job is to be their cheerleader and motivate them in their coursework. When needed, she also connects them to social services that can help them pay their bills and improve their health.

Now that her four children are grown, she’s dedicating more time to another
passion—performing. After earning her master’s degree in performance and acting in 1985, she worked for a year with a multicultural theatre company in Denver. While raising a family, she put acting on the back burner until 2014, when she landed a small role as a nurse in a play called “The Lyons.” Since then, she has acted in 11 other productions, including “To Kill a Mockingbird.” On September 1, she started a six-week run as Mattie Fae in “August: Osage County.”

“Theatre is my joy,” she said. “I love performing and being able to reach audiences. Denver has an extremely talented pool of actors, and I’m so proud to be a part of it.”

She also uses her talents in service to DAR since joining five years ago. Mrs. Kennedy serves as her chapter’s National Defense Chair and enjoys making historical and current event presentations at chapter meetings. She’s also the star of her chapter’s YouTube videos calling for essay contest participants.

 “I love that DAR allows you to find your niche,” she said. “Whatever interests you, DAR has a job for you.”

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