LIBERTY, Ohio (WKBN) – A local first-grade teacher who battled COVID-19 received an award over the weekend from Westminster College.

Darnelle Clark was awarded the 2022 Westminster College Alumni Citation Award Winner at the Westminster College Homecoming.

Each year, alumni submit names of those they feel deserve the honor, voted on by the Alumni Council. Winners of the award “reflect the Westminster mission and those who have distinguished themselves through personal achievements, professional achievements, and/or have made significant contributions to society.”

Clark graduated from Westminster in 2009 with a degree in psychology, completed a post-graduate degree in early childhood education, and earned a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Youngstown State University. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she became widely known for her Youtube channel, Clark’s Cozy Corner, as an entertaining way to encourage students to read.

“When I was informed, I was enthralled and moved to tears; honestly, it came at a perfect time after my most recent surgeries and helped me find my place again,” Clark said. “For my alma mater to deem me worthy of this recognition meant so much to me, knowing that in my lowest times, my value was recognized at Westminster, Liberty Schools, and the Liberty community.”

Clark battled severe complications of COVID-19 during the pandemic, which sidelined her from her work.

“Seeing Darnelle as not only a member of our Liberty staff but a friend go through the highs and lows of the past two years gives me great pride to see someone of her wonderful character and spirit be honored with such a great award. I could not think of a more deserving individual to represent not only Liberty Schools but our community,” Liberty PK-2 Principal Jessica Kohler.

Clark spoke to two classes on Friday while back on campus and was honored at the football game on Saturday.