Dungeons & Dragons club lets students come out of their shells

Board game used as learning tool at Bankbridge Regional School

Teacher Jonathan Sutton discusses the game, Dungeons & Dragons with the D&D club members at Bankbridge Regional High School. (Special to the Sun)

Many people know Dungeons & Dragons, and many people believe it to be just an ordinary fantasy tabletop role-playing game. But for the students at Bankbridge Regional School South Campus, it’s more than a game, it’s a constructive outlet to let them be themselves.

The Dungeons and Dragons Club at Bankbridge is just over a year old, having begun in March of 2018. It was initiated by Phoenix Foxhill, who was struggling to make friends after transferring to school. It helped him find other students with common interests.

The D&D club ended up bringing students like Christopher “CJ” Sepsey, Christain DelGaudio, Connor O’Chuida and Foxhill together. Each one found something when joining the club and playing the game.

“It helped me make friends outside of school,” said Sepsey, who also plays it at Tiki Tiki Board Games in Woodbury.

“It gets me out of the house,” said Foxhill, who also plays it at his local library.

“I was just curious about it and I wanted to see what type of game it was” said DelGaudio.

For O’Chuida, the imaginative gameplay and excitement of the game are what had him interested.

“I was also very curious,” said O’Chuida. “I always knew if you were dragon born you could breathe fire, so I thought that’s cool. Then once I found out I could breathe lightning, I thought that was cool. Sign me up.”

The game was so successful with the students that it quickly became a teaching tool for the classroom. This was done by popular demand to help with studies and give students better comprehension.

Students are assigned homework for D&D. Creating characters is essential to the game, but also helps with understanding of how the game works. To aid them in this process, the students create their characters abiding to the rules of the game manuals.

“What happens is that we will sit down and have maybe a 10- to 15-minute breakdown session. We will go through and read portions of the players handbook with the students and will go over the process of what is involved in character creation. It’s also helpful because it gives them involved in creative writing,“ said Jonathan Sutton, a teacher at the school.

This process allows students to actually take things from their own lives and incorporate real life into this fictional game.

Each student brought forth a character and described their characters as dealing with some kind of social behavior they felt they personally struggled with, such as public speaking, communication, anxiety, self-worth, depression or loneliness.

“The characters themselves are huge part of the game. I like to mess around with monsters a lot so one of my characters is a literal troll,” said Foxhill.

There are about 30 players throughout the school who participate in the D&D club. The game became so popular in the school that Sutton ended up having to teach another teacher how to play the game and to be a game master to help with the logjam of players who were itching to play. They currently can do two groups of 10 player at a time.

Foxhill is working to make the game an official class within the school so that everyone can have a rotation.

Sutton is one of the teachers at the school who encourages this type of activity.

“Now when they have opportunities during their own free time, like in between classes or at breakfast in the morning, some of them will take turns playing as a game master and creating their own world for the other students,” said Sutton.

In the time that it took to create the D&D club, the students have become experts to the level where they can question some of the storylines to aid them in their journey to advance in the game.

The D&D club meets from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. on Fridays all year round in Sutton’s classroom to play the game.