Summit Academy Secondary School – Akron students gather Thursday afternoons after classes for the school’s popular Dungeons & Dragons Club.

Inside an imaginary amusement park created by Summit Academy Secondary School – Akron senior Elijah King, fellow senior Brandon Gaylord examines the scene. Here, people are perched on stools, conversing about a building basement. Elijah informs Brandon about the basement’s many unexplored nooks and crannies. Filling in as the Dungeons & Dragons master, Elijah describes imaginary characters, some of whom have tattoos of the number 13. Could they have clues to the whereabouts of the prisoners in hiding, Elijah asks Brandon at the after-school Dungeons & Dragons Club.

Senior Elijah King, far right, leads his Akron Secondary classmates on a imaginative Dungeons & Dragos journey.

The school’s popular D&D Club draws students from all four Akron Secondary grades every Thursday after classes. Students mill around a large, tabletop board game where strategies, friendships and creativity thrive.

“It’s based on the ability to explore your imagination, finding secrets, engaging in battles, investigating clues,” explains teacher aide Melanie Grady, a D&D enthusiast who serves as a staff advisor for the club.

Melanie Grady, an advisor for Summit Academy Akron Secondary’s Dungeons & Dragons Club, joins student Elijah King to lead club members along an action-packed adventure of the imagination.

“There’s a lot of camaraderie. Everyone gets along and has fun. It’s a time to be creative,” adds ELA teacher Courtney Kutschbach, who also advises the club.

As Brandon exits the basement, another student steps into the adventure. Started two years ago, D&D has about 10 active student members. The club is one of the Akron Secondary’s popular after-school extracurricular offerings. Others include a basketball club and steel band.

“The kids really get into it,” says Kutschbach, adding that the staff do, just as much.