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R ECO R D • W I N T ER • 2013

Kirby Gym opens with an overtime victory for DA’s varsity boys team


Brave, Flossie and the Fox, Miss Tizzy, The Wind

swamp animals taught me more about reading

in the Willows, The Case of the Elevator Duck and

than Dick and Jane.

Les Todd

Wayside School is Falling Down. Buying books for


your children is one of the more hopeful and

So I decided not to snatch up and hide all the

heartwarming of parental activities because,

FoxTrot books. The situations are real, and my

as we do it, we imagine our kids will choose to

guess is that my children turned out to be better

spend free time reading rather than surfing the

readers and writers as a result of the hours they

Net or friending people on Facebook.

spent poring over the pages. I should add that there is often an element of truth in the cartoon.

have a couple of confessions to make. The

Over the years, I think our kids actually did

This is one of my favorites:

first is that I have had some difficulty writing

read many books on their reading lists, but I

what will be my last column for the Durham

remember one summer in particular when the

The Mom: So did you beat Fred?

Academy Record. It has been suggested by

reading that captivated them was not suggested

several people that I need to conclude my

by their teachers; instead they devoured FoxTrot,

The Dad: No. He killed me.

tenure with a piece that contains some abiding

a series of cartoon books by Bill Amend. The

truths or addresses the question “What DA

cartoons are simple black-and-white line

Mom: How’d your new putter work?

means to me.” At the risk of disappointing

drawings about a middle-class family of five.

readers, I have instead elected to submit an

Dad: The putter worked fine. It was the rest of my

article which is representative of how my mind

For a fleeting moment, I thought I ought to fuss

game that did me in.

works when it comes to schools and school-

at them for reading junk when good literature


was readily available. But I remembered that

Mom: Oh.

when I was an emerging reader, I myself had

The second is that, except for some minor

become captivated by a similar pursuit, reading

Dad: I don’t know what I was thinking. Any fool

changes, what follows is the same article that

Walt Kelly’s Pogo, a cartoon about a possum

knows that it takes more than an expensive

appeared in the USN magazine when I was

and his animal friend in the Okefenokee

putter to win at golf.

leaving University School of Nashville for DA. As

Swamp. I read all the Pogo books ever published.

such, it provides me with some closure.

Kelly was among the first Americans to speak

Mom: That’s true — um, Roger, why do your clubs

out against McCarthyism, inventing a character

look different?

One of my favorite moments when our three

called Simple J. Malarkey, a badger that bore a

kids were little was the day the summer

striking resemblance to the good senator from

Dad: I’m getting to that.

reading lists arrived. They all would insist we

Wisconsin. What I remember most is Kelly’s

immediately go to the bookstore to purchase

use of language, mostly dialect, generally not

the books on their lists. So off we went,

full sentences, hardly qualifying as literature.

returning with a sack of titles like Ramona the

But working my way through the speech of the

Ed Costello, Headmaster

DURHAM ACADEMY Record • Winter 2013 • Volume 40 • Number 1

The Magazine of Durham Academy


2 4



Front Cover Durham Academy’s completely renovated and expanded Upper School gym opened on Jan. 22. A large crowd turned out

3601 Ridge Road

for the midday ribbon cutting, getting their first peak at the inside of this terrific facility. The excitement continued in Kirby Gym, with girls and boys

Durham, NC 27705-5599

junior varsity and varsity basketball games against North Raleigh Christian Academy, culminating in a 55-52 overtime win for DA boys varsity.

telephone: 919-493-7363

Photo by Melody Guy ton But ts


2 4 7 8 10 13 14 18 20 22 24 25 26 27

website: www.


Ed Costello, Headmaster Matt Taylor,

Director of Communications

Leslie Holdsworth,

Director of Development and Alumni Affairs

Kathy McPherson,

Associate Director of Communications

Tim McKenna,

Associate Director of Alumni Affairs

Ed Costello’s tenure: What a difference 14 years makes New head of school Michael Ulku-Steiner is no stranger to DA Chasing a vision that goes above, further and beyond — DA’s new head of school Kirby Gym opens, completing transformation of US campus The CavDome is gone, but 40 years of memories remain Faculty learn about snowplows, bullies and boys — oh my! Teachers make good citizen diplomats because they have a broad reach 15 • Visiting a ‘low-cost private’ school and a ‘government school’ in India 17 • Doing a good thing, not fixing everything Kindergarten teacher is ‘forever changed’ by a summer trip to Senegal Combat photographer offers glimpse into military life at Veterans Day assembly 21 • Upper School students learn about sacrifice ‘Mulch Fans’ cheer DA field hockey to 11th state championship Two Olympic hopefuls have found a home at Durham Academy Turning a (Web) page in the evolution of From the Green Alumni Stories: Distinguished Alumnus Ward Nye ’81 • Connect with DA via social media • Bethany Walters ’05 • Jason Sholtz ’99 • S mythe Anderson ’05 • Alumni Night at Alivia’s • Networking Events • Alumni Evergreen Campaign • Homecoming Weekend • Weddings • Evan Fjeld ’07 • Babies • Marion Penning ’01 • In Memoriam Those piñatas can be hard to break! P h o t o b y K a t h y M c P h e r s o n Cutting the ribbon for Kirby Gym P h o t o b y N a t h a n C l e n d e n i n

by Durham Academy

Inside Back Cover Back Cover Mission Statement “The purpose of Durham Academy is to provide each student an education that will enable him or her to

Kathy McPherson, Record editor

live a moral, happy and productive life. The development of intellect is central to such a life and, thus, intellectual endeavor and growth are the

Linda Noble, designer

primary work of the school. The acquisition of knowledge; the development of skills, critical judgment and intellectual curiosity; and increased

Theo Davis Sons Inc., printer

understanding are the goals of the school’s academic program.”

The Record is published bi-annually



What a difference 14 years makes


Kathy McPherson

Kathy McPherson

B Y DAV I D B E I S C H E R ’ 8 5, C H A I R , B OA R D O F T R U S T E E S

ABOVE LEFT: Headmaster Ed Costello sings with music teacher Kathy Pause at the 2009 Lower School closing exercises. ABOVE RIGHT: Ralitsa Kalfas ’15, then a fourth-grader, asked Costello to sign her 2007 yearbook. RIGHT: Upper School teacher Lindy Krzyzewski Frasher ’95, Costello and Preschool Director Sheppy Vann package meals at the 2010 MLK day of service.

ourteen years ago, when Ed Costello came to Durham Academy as head of school, Durham Academy was a very different school. DA had an enrollment of a little more than 1,000 students with 650 students on the Academy Road Campus in grades pre-k through eight. Trailers and cramped quarters were the norm at the Academy Road Campus, and pick-up and drop-off took place in a twolane alley that rivaled Fifth Avenue at rush hour. We did have student diversity, but our student of color percentage was only 12.5 percent, a number that has now more than doubled to more than 29 percent. Our curriculum and faculty were good but challenged by facilities; for example, Preschool science lessons were taught out of a rolling cart that traveled from room to room. The legacy that Ed Costello leaves Durham Academy is probably most directly felt through the change in our campuses and


Kathy McPherson


our facilities. Every school division has seen a marked improvement in its campus — most notably, the beautiful Preschool and Lower School campus, a facility that is now 10 years


old. With the conclusion of The Evergreen Campaign this summer, Costello will have assisted in raising more than $22 million for facilities and programs that will serve this

Megan Morr Megan Morr Les Todd Kathy McPherson

community for decades to come. It is very safe of Trustees’ Finance Committee, ran several to say that although Bess Pickard Boone is the scenarios for what would happen if the school longest-serving head of school, during Costello’s lost several students and how our faculty, staff tenure (the second-longest), Durham Academy’s and programs would be affected. Fortunately, facilities have changed more than at any time in none of those plans came to fruition. I know the school’s history. he is very proud that through this tough time, All of these facility changes were done DA maintained and strengthened salaries and with careful financial planning by the Board of benefits and continued to keep faculty salaries Trustees, DA’s administrative team and Costello. competitive with other institutions. When Costello arrived Facility expansion, at DA, the trustees had financial prudence and The legacy that Ed Costello developed a Facilities faculty support aside, I leaves Durham Academy is Master Plan, outlining the believe Costello’s greatest probably most directly felt needed facility changes legacy at Durham Academy through the change in our and proposing how to is always putting the campuses and our facilities. With finance those facilities. student first. He is always the conclusion of The Evergreen Our new head of school looking to support the Campaign this summer, Costello had to help figure out how student. When a very will have assisted in raising more to sustain enrollment, difficult situation occurs than $22 million for facilities increase tuition, maintain with one of our students, and programs that will serve this faculty salaries, strengthen Costello is at his best community for decades to come. financial aid and also working through the encourage the DA community to commit issue with the family, listening to their concerns, significant financial resources to construct new keeping the best interest of Durham Academy buildings and campuses over several years. It in mind, but always with an eye for how to help was not an easy financial task. Costello led an the student. I think that is rare and can only expansion of the school through both good come from vast experience as headmaster at and bad financial times, including the greatest different schools and in many situations. Our financial downturn in our country’s history students do incredible academic work and receive since the Great Depression, culminating this many accolades each year, and they have been year when Durham Academy opened with the more than ably supported by our headmaster for largest enrollment in its nearly 80-year history. 14 years. Financially, DA has never been stronger. The It has been a bittersweet year for Costello value of a Durham Academy education has never in many ways, with the strange task of wrapping diminished and has only been enhanced and up some initiatives that if he were staying, he and burnished by Costello’s financial oversight. the Board of Trustees would put our full vigor into Over the last 14 years, Costello has hired a during the next academic year. I hope, however, multitude of faculty and staff. He does a great you will join me over the remainder of the school job of hiring good people and then getting out year in thanking Costello for all he has done for of the way and letting them do their jobs, while Durham Academy. By any reasonable metric, supporting and guiding them when needed. Durham Academy is a much better place than in Several times, Costello has gone the extra mile 1999. We are a more diverse school community, when faculty or staff experienced a health and our programs, curriculum and students problem, a family leave issue or a sick parent. reflect it. Our campus facilities now match our He values DA’s faculty and staff and advocates great faculty and their teaching within them. for them each year when trustees review the We are stronger financially and are enjoying the proposed budget for the upcoming school year. largest enrollment in school history this year. With the aforementioned economic downturn, Durham Academy has always been a good Costello, with the assistance of Jerry Benson, school, and because of Ed Costello’s leadership Director of Business Services, and the Board over the last 14 years, it is now a great school. TOP TO BOTTOM: Ed Costello, Jennifer Crawford, Kathie Eason and Steve Eason at the February 2012 opening of the Upper School Learning Commons • Costello, far right, helps cut the ribbon to open the new Learning Commons • Costello was master of ceremonies at DA’s 75th anniversary celebration in 2008 • Costello channels his inner Dr. Seuss at the 2008 Lower School closing exercises.



Search Committee selects Michael UlkuSteiner for head of school


ichael Ulku-Steiner has

been named Durham Academy’s head of school, beginning July 1, 2013. He follows Ed Costello, who is completing 14 years as DA’s headmaster, the second-

history of Durham Academy and its predecessor, Calvert Method School.



Milo Zanecchia

longest tenure in the 79-year

New head of school Michael Ulku-Steiner is no stranger to Durham Academy B Y K AT H Y M C P H E R S O N , A S S O C I AT E D I R E C TO R O F CO M M U N I C AT I O N S


urham Academy’s new head of school is coming here from Switzerland, but he is no stranger to DA. Michael Ulku-Steiner has deep roots in Durham and Chapel Hill. He began his teaching career at DA, and he has served as DA’s Upper School director. He’s been away from Durham Academy since 2008, when he became headmaster of The American School in Switzerland (TASIS), a day and boarding school with 630 students. Ulku-Steiner has said his work is motivated by this question: How can schools help children grow into their most compassionate, capable and courageous selves? While still busy with his responsibilities at TASIS, he recently made time for a telephone interview for DA’s winter magazine. Whether you knew Ulku-Steiner when he was at DA or whether his name is still new to you, you will gain insight into DA’s new head of school by reading excerpts from the interview. DA: You used to ride your bike to DA from your home in Chapel Hill. Are you still doing that sort of thing? With a 24/7 job, how do you make time for yourself and your family? Ulku-Steiner: I’m probably in better shape than in a long time. I live on campus; it’s a twominute walk, but it’s 145 stairs and I go up and down them a few times a day. … I play in faculty basketball and indoor soccer games once week, I play tennis and I’m in a running group with students at 6:15 a.m. three days week to the lake and back. I have two new loves: lake swimming from May to September — it’s fun and peaceful — and cycling 30 to 60 miles several times a week. I bought my first skinny-wheel bike. … There’s so much beautiful stuff to see around here. Our family plays tennis together … and we do a lot of hiking and skiing. DA: You’ve said having good teachers drew you into teaching. Tell about some of those teachers and how they made a difference in your life. Ulku-Steiner: Several of them were English teachers. In the eighth grade, I had John Riley at Albuquerque Academy. He was British, extremely strict, had a quirky personality and was a great teacher of writing. We had to circle all the verbs in our essays for the year. He taught us to

write lean and muscular prose, to care about words in an attentive way. My junior and senior years, I had teachers whose class discussions were transcendent, on a high level, exciting, suspenseful. Both of them had a lot of time for us as individuals, to chat, work on papers, chew the fat. I’m still in touch with them; I send my speeches to them and get their critique. Another was Robert Kirkpatrick at UNC. I got in his class by mistake freshman year — it was a poetry class with older students. It was like a religious experience being in his class; it was a sacred, intense atmosphere. I wrote a lot of bad poems for him, but he stuck with me, and I took all of his classes. I had the good fortune of having his daughter, Mela, as an advisee at DA. She’s now an English teacher at Charlotte Country Day. DA: How would you describe your leadership style? Ulku-Steiner: I tend to ask a lot of questions, relentlessly and annoyingly. It’s important to ask the right questions, to get people to tune into them. I’ve learned you can get into a lot of trouble opening your mouth and you can get out of a lot of trouble by opening your ears. I’ll try to do that at DA. I don’t know DA from the headmaster angle or in 2013. I can’t shortcut to the understandings I had when I was there before. It’s important to tune into people and their paths. School should be as dynamic for teachers as it is for students. DA: When you spoke to faculty and staff on your DA visit, you talked about an exchange with a Mexican student when you were in high school. Tell me about that and how it shaped your interests. Ulku-Steiner: Albuquerque Academy set up an exchange. On spring break I’d go there, and Jaime Valverde would come here. Chihuahua, Mexico, seemed so exotic, foreign and exciting — just walking to school, in classes, eating an after-school snack. I felt like the whole world was opening up, and particularly language was the key. It planted the seed for all the international stuff I’ve done, meeting [his wife] Beril and her international experience. Her mother is American and her parents met at UNC, but she grew up in Ankara, Turkey. Now students can connect internationally via email and Skype before they

ever leave the campus. DA has reinvigorated its study-abroad and exchange programs, and that’s so critically important. DA: You helped start the APPLES service-learning program at UNC, and several community programs began while you were at DA. Tell me about your commitment to service and why it is an important component of school life. Ulku-Steiner: I was on a community service board in high school, and it felt like it was much more real, more authentic to be leading a meeting and go out and meet people. It felt very exciting to be changing the game a little bit in university education. It is so potent to get relationships going in every direction. When you are building projects together, everybody benefits, everybody learns. … It’s betting on young people. Give students challenges they are not quite ready for, and they will rise to the occasion. Entrepreneurism requires practice. Train these kids, and they can start much earlier. DA: You place a lot of emphasis on development of character. What do you see as the school’s role? Ulku-Steiner: Some people portray character education as touchy-feely, but the deepest roots of education are virtue education. Schools are not just for literacy and numeracy, but also to educate active citizens. Literacy and numeracy are tools. Real happiness in life comes from virtue; college admissions and SAT scores evaporate in time. Integrity, courage and compassion make your life a lot more fun, more rewarding. It’s wrong to assume it happens by itself. … We have to keep holding up, in a tangible way, that character lasts and actually outlasts some of the other ways of educating students. DA: How has being a parent changed or influenced you as an educator? Ulku-Steiner: My years of parenting are the most educational thing I have done. It is intensely humbling. I’ve gotten more competent and less confident in my parenting. I have realized how fragile and important is the experience of each individual child in their path through the school day. DA: Your career has been in independent schools, and you are an independent school graduate. What is the role of independent schools today, and what would you say to a parent who is considering DA or any independent continued on page 6 school?



THE MICHAEL ULKU-STEINER FILE Education • MA in Educational Administration from Teachers College, Columbia University, 1998. • MA in Liberal Studies from Duke University, 1997. • BA, Phi Beta Kappa, in Interdisciplinary Studies (English, Spanish, Art History) from UNC-Chapel Hill, 1992. • Coursework in Spanish language and architecture at the Universitat de Barcelona, 1991. • Graduated Cum Laude from Albuquerque Academy, 1988. School Leadership Experience • Headmaster, The American School in Switzerland (TASIS), 2008-present. • Served a day and boarding school community with 630 students, 125 faculty members and a parent body with high and varied expectations. • Recruited 75 teachers and revised contract-building system toward greater equity and transparency. • Led the school’s first broadly participatory strategic planning process. • Managed annual budget of U.S. $27 million. Participated in first cash-flow-positive academic years in school’s 53-year history (FY 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012). • Shared in fundraising and planning for five new facilities (2009 theater, 2010 classroom building, 2010 dormitory/apartment/infirmary complex, 2012 arts/ athletics center and 2014 science center). • Guided the school through a period in which enrollment, faculty salaries, student financial aid and capital investments from tuition revenue all increased in each year (despite global economic crisis). • Upper School Director, Durham Academy, 2003-2008. • Dean of Students, The American School in Switzerland (TASIS), 2000-2003. • Teacher, advisor, coach and interim Director of Studies, Durham Academy, 1992-2000. • Co-Founder, APPLES service learning program at UNC-Chapel Hill, 1989-92. (Collaborated with undergraduate students, professors, administrators and community agency directors to infuse service-learning into university courses.) Additional Experience • Board member, El Centro Hispano de Durham, 2006-2008. • Translator and Tour Guide for Time Inc. during Barcelona Olympic Games, 1992. • Intern with Sports Illustrated for Kids magazine, summer 1990. • Co-Chair, Volunteer Action Committee, UNC-CH, 1989-90. • Executive Board member, Campus Y, UNC-CH, 1989-90. • Intern with Omaha Police Division, summer 1989. • Hurricane Island Outward Bound School (28-day paddling, hiking, rock-climbing course), 1988. Honors and Awards • F. Robertson Hershey Distinguished Faculty Award at Durham Academy, 1997. • Morehead Scholar at UNC-CH, 1988-92. • Orders of the Old Well (1991), Grail (1992) and Golden Fleece (1992) at UNC-CH. • Ernest L. Mackie Award (“presented to the man of the junior class judged most outstanding in character, scholarship, and leadership”) at UNC-CH, 1992. • Headmaster’s Award, Congressional Medal of Merit, Senior English, Spanish and Biology Prizes at Albuquerque Academy, 1988. Personal • Married to Dr. Beril Ulku-Steiner, developmental psychologist. • Children: Kenan and Lucy • Interests: Family play, travel, basketball, soccer, tennis, cycling, open-water swimming, reading, collecting baseball memorabilia, UNC basketball, Internazionale soccer and the Pittsburgh Pirates. • Languages: Italian (fluent), Spanish (rusty), Turkish and French (barely).



continued from page 5

Ulku-Steiner: Independent schools have more time, more skills and more tools in the toolbox. Independent schools listen to children, give them lots of options and fan sparks of interest and skill. Independent schools have to be contributors to their communities and partners, not piles of privilege to make their students more comfortable. Independent schools should be generating leaders for the community, partnering with the community that surrounds us and learning with them.

ABOVE: Ulku-Steiner holds his own in a soccer game with students at The American School in Switzerland.

DA: You said DA head of school was the only job you were interested in. That was pretty gutsy since you had announced you would be leaving TASIS in July. What path would you have taken if you had not returned to DA? Ulku-Steiner: Last summer we realized we were putting lot of eggs into the DA basket. Beril and I thought seriously about some other places, but we felt like it would be hard to go to them with integrity if things didn’t work out at DA. We were very focused and a little risky. If I hadn’t gotten the job at DA, I’d be in Turkey for a year learning Turkish, licking my wounds and coming up with plan B. We are critical consumers for our own kids and feel like DA has the right things for them. Lucy will be in fifth grade and Kenan will be in eighth grade next year. Michael Ulku-Steiner came to DA in 1992 to teach English and Spanish, a 21-year-old graduate fresh out of UNC-Chapel Hill. He returns to Durham Academy in July as head of school, a 42-year-old father of two. “We have both matured significantly since then,” said Ulku-Steiner.

Chasing a vision that goes above, further and beyond B Y M I C H A E L U L K U - S T E I N E R , DA’ S N E X T H E A D O F S C H O O L

TOP: Michael, Beril, Kenan and Lucy Ulku-Steiner enjoyed a family vacation at Wrightsville Beach last summer. LEFT: Ulku-Steiner talks with students at The American School in Switzerland.


uring my finalist interviews in November, I was asked a version of the following question in every room I entered: “How have you changed since you left Durham Academy for Europe in 2008?” Sometimes I was tempted to answer with grandiosity: “We have lived among the deepest cultural roots of the West and soaked up every inspiring drop of a multicultural community in which international understanding reigns.” At other points, I was more practical: “I now wear hair gel and leather pants.” The truth is, I wear neither hair gel nor leather pants. We did, however, have the good fortune to live and work in an extraordinary school and community. Ultimately, we cannot distill five years of international living into a few extracted lessons. Still, there is no doubt that Lucy, Kenan, Beril and I will return from our Swiss-Italian “walkabout” changed, deepened and grateful. Most fundamentally, I am older. In 2008, I had younger children and no gray hairs. After a family move across the Atlantic, five intense years of parenting, the settling into a new country and culture, the learning of a new language and a flurry of travels in Europe and Africa, I hope I am a little wiser, a little more judicious, a little more compassionate. I am certain that I am older. Professionally, I will return to DA with a deeper sense of school culturebuilding, finance, strategic planning, contract negotiation, board dynamics, the mentoring of administrators and (perhaps most critically) pre-, lower and middle schools. I’ve had the good fortune to recruit teachers from all over the world. I’ve had the great fun of learning from students and families from 60 nations. I have learned how much trouble you can get yourself into by opening your mouth, and how much trouble you can solve by opening

your ears. I’ve met some extraordinary learners and teachers. And I’ve had the chance to reflect from a distance on the experience my children and I were lucky to enjoy between 1992 and 2008 at DA. Watching Kenan and Lucy transition into an Italian-speaking Swiss public school, then an English-speaking international school and (soon) DA, has left me with a heightened sense of the fragility and consequence of a welcoming school. Beril and I have spent five years as the immigrant parents who often feel just short of fully informed and fully integrated — the ones whose children translate for them and are embarrassed by them. We are more keenly aware of the ways in which DA can open itself with warmth and transparency to newcomers. Many features of TASIS will continue to inspire me in Durham. Two are worth mentioning here. In my “Five Questions” interview [for DA’s December News & Notes] I described the TASIS habit (from pre-kindergarteners to post-graduates) of making eye contact, shaking hands and greeting people by name. This expectation grows from the ideas of TASIS founder Mrs. Fleming. From the TASIS Paideia that she left to guide the TASIS schools: We teach good manners by modeling them. We strive for courteous behavior at all times, even under stress. “Manners maketh man,” wrote William Wykeham, founder of New College, Oxford. We agree. Courtesy keeps us happy, purposeful and poised, able to show the respect for one another we ought to feel, and quick to treat one another with cordial dignity. Courtesy is the necessary ground for our communal and scholarly lives. The second idea relates to joyful creativity and the importance of play for learning. Among the strongest academic departments at TASIS are those in the visual arts. “The most effective education is that a child should play amongst lovely things,” wrote Plato (the first European school founder?). TASIS recognizes that “playing among beautiful things” is no mere diversion. It is an essential ingredient of a school designed to produce creative problem-solvers for the planet, community-minded entrepreneurs, leaders who take with them into the world a bone-deep sense of the true, the good and the beautiful. In great schools, students play among beautiful things in all departments. Among the forces that drew me to TASIS — and indeed among the reasons I look forward to rejoining the DA team — is the powerful sense these two schools aim higher than most. Both schools have set their sights above the mere delivery of curricular content, further than the simple development of skills, beyond a target list of college admittances. Without apology, we aim to equip students for joyful, productive, virtuous lives. Of course we miss all the time. We are sometimes sloppy and often tired. We take shortcuts and occasionally forget our noble destinations. We fall short. But this inspiring ideal — of creating a community that fundamentally changes the trajectories of young human lives — is shared by both TASIS and DA. And I look forward to chasing this vision with you for years to come. DURHAM ACADEMY RECORD | WINTER 2013 | WWW.DA.ORG




undreds of students, faculty, parents and alumni gathered Jan. 22 for a special opening ceremony for the new Upper School gymnasium. The gym was the second phase of renovations for the Upper School campus, and it is the final project to complete a master campus plan that was envisioned nearly 15 years ago. The building will be called Kirby Gymnasium in honor of the generosity of the F.M. Kirby Foundation. The gym, as well as the new Learning Commons which opened last winter, are being funded entirely by The Evergreen Campaign. To date, the campaign has raised $7.2 million toward its $9 million goal. “Durham Academy is honored to call our new gym the Kirby Gymnasium,” said Headmaster Ed Costello. “The Kirby Foundation has been extremely generous to this current campaign, and without that support, we could not have moved forward last year on construction of the gym. We are very grateful to the Kirby-Horton family for making this wonderful and much-needed building possible.” The building features a fully renovated gym — that feels brand new — with air conditioning, a new floor, frosted glass windows along two sides of the gym, greatly improved lighting, six basketball goals with glass backboards and scoreboards at both ends of the court. The gym now has bleachers on both sides of the court, with seating



for more than 900 spectators, a gain of nearly 300 seats over the old gym. The old mezzanine has been replaced with a spacious trophy hallway, north and south lobbies, public restrooms and a concessions area. An addition to the east side of the gym adds 8,000 square feet for a fitness center, locker rooms, a training room, a workout room, storage, offices and a conference room. The Alumni Board is heading up an effort to raise $100,000 to “name” the conference room. With a deadline of March 31, the Alumni Board has raised nearly 50 percent to date, or $48,650. All alumni donors, individually or in collective groups, who donate $1,000 or more will be recognized on an alumni honor wall in the conference room. (See story, page 33.) The construction of the Learning Commons and the renovation and expansion of Kirby Gymnasium have completely transformed the Upper School campus, and finally brought the school’s facilities up to the standard Durham Academy students deserve. The buildings are not yet fully paid for, and the Board of Trustees has taken an enormous leap of faith that the DA community will continue its generous response to The Evergreen Campaign between now and the end of June. For more information or to make a gift, please visit

OPPOSITE PAGE: DA’s junior varsity girls team had the honor of playing the first game in the Kirby Gym, and Emma Eason ’15 scored the first basket. The renovated gym features a new floor, scoreboards at both ends of the court and greatly improved lighting. TOP: The 8,000 square-foot-addition includes a spacious weight room and fitness center. Students can earn physical education credit by working toward an individual fitness plan. BOTTOM LEFT: A section of the old gym’s floor greets visitors as they enter the lobby of Kirby Gym. Students are enjoying frozen yogurt, compliments of Durham Academy, from one of the food trucks on hand for the festivities. BOTTOM RIGHT: Varsity basketball player Khari Williams ’14 checks out the home team locker room. The new facility includes spacious girls and boys locker rooms for home and away teams, coaches’ locker rooms and public restrooms, a necessity that was sorely missing in the old gym. P H O T O S






This Old Gym The CavDome is gone, but memories of the facility that served the school community for nearly 40 years remain B Y M AT T TAY LO R , D I R E C TO R O F CO M M U N I C AT I O N S


t served as a polling station for elections and a dance hall for proms. It was a cafeteria for students by day and a concession stand for fans by night. It housed pot-luck team dinners in season and varsity award banquets after seasons. Parents bid on items there during auction fundraisers, while students bid adieu to high school during graduations therein. And then, of course, there were the numerous classes, practices and games that took place under its roof. The CavDome wore several different hats during its nearly 40 years on the Upper School campus. Built in 1974, the Upper School gymnasium quickly became a fixture in the lives of many members of the Durham Academy community. That home developed cracks and quirks as it settled; there was a basketball game suspended midstream when the lights went out and a volleyball game cancelled on account of rain. However, the events that inspired frustration after the facility’s initial luster had faded now produce a certain fondness for a building that was not always defined by its shortcomings. The CavDome wore several different hats during its nearly 40 years on the Upper School campus. Built in 1974, the Upper School gymnasium quickly became a fixture in the lives of many members of the Durham Academy community. “It was a nice facility 34 years ago. It was one of the nicer gyms. People always thought of our gym as one of the nicer, bigger gyms,” says Greg Murray, who coached 29 years’ worth of basketball in the CavDome. “I can remember walking in for the first time and thinking it was a great gym, kind of an old school gym. I never thought once about public restrooms or anything like that.” Barb Kanoy coached volleyball for more than 25 years and concurs with Murray’s assessment. She became the varsity coach in 1984 after two years coaching at the Middle School and says the CavDome felt like a castle back then compared to the



smaller, darker gyms the team would visit while playing road games. It was only after other schools started building coliseum-like facilities that the CavDome’s limitations truly became apparent, Kanoy says, at which point her teams prided themselves on their ability to overcome those limitations. “As our gym got older it was sort of a point of pride that we were able to do it even though,” Kanoy says. “There was some kind of bonding there not to have the best facilities.” Rick Dike served as Durham Academy’s athletic director from 1981 until 1991. He, too, sees the building boom at competing schools as a turning point for perceptions of the CavDome. Like many in the DA community, he wished for a better facility but made the best of what he had. “Basically we just lived with the place,” Dike says. “The gym itself was great. The court and seating area were fine. It was the facilities that were problematic.” With the opening of Kirby Gymnasium on Jan. 22, Durham Academy now has the facility it desired for several years. Nevertheless, the old gym won’t soon be forgotten by those who inhabited it and learned to love it despite its flaws. “We got every ounce of use out of that place and then some,” Headmaster Ed Costello says.

FEELING FLUSHED Many of an athletic director’s game-day duties go unnoticed unless there is a problem completing them. Pulling out the stands, setting up the scorer’s table, mopping the floor, getting the clock operator in place, making sure the referees arrive, having people to take tickets and sell concessions, arranging for an adult administrator to be at the game — after all that and more is completed, the athletic director can get to worrying about things beyond his control like plumbing, lighting and the restrooms, or lack thereof.

“There was one bathroom in each locker room. That was it,” Dike says. “A lot of people who visited weren’t crazy about that.” The CavDome’s lack of a public restroom became an unfortunate trademark of the facility. The locker room bathrooms were the only option for fans seeking relief and were closed during halftime when the teams were in the locker rooms. Costello notes that Durham Academy is the first school that forced him into “potty guard duty” to keep anyone from entering the locker rooms at halftime. Among the CavDome’s many inconvenienced visitors was former Pittsburgh Steelers coach and current NFL television analyst Bill Cowher. Teresa Engebretsen recalls meeting Cowher at the concession stand when he came to watch his daughter play basketball for visiting Ravenscroft. “I thought I was going to be charming,” Engebretsen says. “I told him, ‘This is going to be the best popcorn you’ve ever had.’ He said, ‘Yeah, but you don’t have any bathrooms.’” The absence of air conditioning also presented challenges during warmer months. Kanoy recalls how teams that practiced outside in August would complain about the heat while her players would head outside to cool down. DA’s volleyball players had a difficult time getting warmed up during road games in air-conditioned facilities; however, the heat provided a distinct advantage when the Cavaliers played at home. “We really did pride ourselves on having the hottest gym,” Kanoy says. “We thought, ‘We don’t have air conditioning so when they come here they’re going to melt.’” The roof challenged all teams equally. The facility’s original construction left it vulnerable to leaks during periods of heavy rain. Typically, leaks on the playing surface were cleaned up with towels during breaks in game action. This approach helped the Cavaliers get through one particular rainy Friday night in the late ‘90s, but it still posed a threat to the

following day’s basketball games. That night, Athletic Director Steve Engebretsen climbed on top of the gym with a member of the facilities crew and anchored a tarp to the roof with bricks. Engebretsen returned the next morning to discover the tarp partially dislodged and flapping in the wind atop the roof. Given the early hour, he went to work alone with additional bricks he retrieved from the maintenance area. After rearranging the tarp and putting the new bricks in place, Engebretsen began his descent from the roof when the ladder slipped and deposited him on the awning midway between the roof and the sidewalk. The ladder ended up on the concrete. “This has been our life. It’s been a great place,” Teresa says. “I hope that the new gym will also become a very central part of the whole Durham Academy experience. I’m sure it will become a really important part of the kids’ experience just like the old one was.” “It’s the stupidest thing I ever did,” Engebretsen says. He figured Costello, his new boss at the time, would either be impressed by his willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done or think he was an idiot. Costello says both thoughts crossed his mind. “I’ve been on roofs trying to save gym floors myself,” says Costello, a former basketball coach. “I guess I’d say it was a bonding experience between the two of us.” Costello started investigating the cost of repairing the leaky gym roof the day after Engebretsen’s fall. “You don’t usually do building inspections before taking a head job,” he notes.

DURHAM ACADEMY’S STOMPING GROUNDS While the CavDome’s shortcomings were on public display, the gym’s more endearing

elements were associated with the traditions and practices that belonged to the teams that competed there. During Kanoy’s tenure as varsity volleyball coach you were more likely to find her team talking strategy outside the CavDome at a place called “stomping ground” than you were to find them in the home locker room. Nevertheless, the origins of stomping ground rested inside the gymnasium. Stomping ground — located underneath a nearby tree on the side of the gym that faces the quad — got its name after a butterfly that had taken up residence inside the gymnasium was crushed accidentally during practice. The insect’s untimely passing, and one player’s dramatic reaction to it, forced an extended interruption to practice that culminated with a proper burial beneath the tree. “That became known as stomping ground from then on, for 15 years at least,” Kanoy says. “That’s where we went pre-game, and that’s where we went after the game. That’s where we went any time we needed to talk about anything. If it was raining, we were out near stomping ground on the sidewalk area.” Butterflies were not the only thing to get smashed. One player’s warm-up routine produced a forceful collision between wall and ball that left the CavDome scarred with a crack in the sheetrock for years afterward. Meanwhile, Kanoy’s efforts to measure players’ vertical leaps with tape each season took paint off the wall when it was removed; if left in place, the remaining tape let players bask in the glory of their individual efforts beyond the season. The team also made use of the CavDome’s mezzanine area for team dinners and for training. Whenever Kanoy yelled “trophy case” during practice, players would immediately run up the mezzanine stairs and touch the case before returning back to the court. continued on page 12



“We didn’t have a lot of trophies in the trophy case on the mezzanine,” Kanoy said. “The kids wanted to add a trophy to the trophy case.” The girls varsity basketball team added two state championship trophies to that trophy case during Greg Murray’s tenure as coach, first in 1992 and again in 1994. Murray coached more than 300 games in the CavDome and won an estimated 75 percent of them during his 23 years leading the varsity girls team that followed his six years as the junior varsity boys basketball coach. Between coaching and teaching physical education classes, he spent more time in the CavDome than anyone else at Durham Academy.

were lively. The event grew from having approximately 20 kids at the outset to later drawing overflow crowds. Murray remembers fondly the Lower School Night at the CavDome in the mid-1980s when Ashley Ross ’87 sunk a half-court shot at halftime to win a prize drawing, much to the chagrin of her male competitors.

game, leaving his mother paralyzed with fear until the babysitter retrieved her son. Even the family dog made its contribution by relieving itself on the gym floor during a weekend volleyball pick-up game.

Years later, Jenni played three years of varsity volleyball for her mother’s team, Chris served as a line judge during games and Kanoy’s “A parent bought all the girls one ticket husband, a former club volleyball player in without them knowing it. Ashley calmly walked college, came to be known by DA players as out there, did one little hop and pushed her “Coach Ken.” set shot and hit nothing but net,” Murray says. “All of the sudden we were in a panic because As the wife of the boys basketball coach and she was a recruited athlete. We had to check later the school’s athletic director, Teresa with the NCAA to see if she would actually be Engebretsen made DA athletics a way of life … eligible to take that money. Because it was a and new life. “It may not have been like Cameron Indoor random drawing and all students had an equal Stadium or [UNC’s old] Carmichael opportunity to have their names drawn, they Teresa went into labor with the couple’s first Auditorium, but home was a very good place determined she could keep her $37.” son while watching the Cavaliers host North to play,” Murray said. “As a coach, I never felt Carolina School of Science and Mathematics like we were limited in any kind of way. The By numbers alone, no one had bigger nights on Nov. 23, 1987. Jake Engebretsen ‘06 was gym floor itself was a great practice facility at the CavDome than Katie O’Connor ’95 born early the following afternoon. and game facility.” and Mike Dolan. O’Connor, DA’s all-time leading scoring and assist leader for girls Teresa, who created the championship Murray liked the smallish feel of his team’s basketball, set a school record with 37 points banners that adorned the CavDome’s walls, locker room, which he says became a haven against Wesleyan Academy in 1995. Dolan, often brought Jake to the gym in his pajamas for the group. A line placed on the locker meanwhile, set the high-scoring mark for during basketball practice. As he got older, room floor signaled to players as they exited a boys game with 40 points against Cary Jake would run around with the players. He that it was time to put on their game faces. Academy in 1999 on the strength of his 10 was particularly thrilled to meet number 23, Meanwhile, a sign hanging above the door — made three-pointers, also a school record. Torsie Judkins ’91, who he was convinced was it now graces the wall of the former coach’s Michael Jordan. Grant Engebretsen ’11 was office — served as a reminder to the team to “I actually remember early in the game, after born in 1992, and the gym soon became part “Play like a champion today.” The team never I had hit a few threes, the crowd started of his life as well. lost a state playoff game in the CavDome chanting ‘Dolan’s winning’ because I had more under Murray’s guidance. points than the opposing team,” he recalls. “How much better could it be for two boys “That is a great memory.” than to have a dad who owns a gym? They “The CavDome became a feared place to thought he owned the gym,” Teresa says. “It play,” Murray says. “It was a pretty rocking “There were many of those kind of really cool was just like their own little playground.” place.” moments,” Engebretsen says. That playground later became the home court Mike Dolan ’99 recalls a series of rivalry games A F A M I L Y A F F A I R for both Engebretsen boys as they played that brought out the best in the Cavaliers’ varsity basketball at Durham Academy. Things home crowd. The CavDome became a second home for came full circle for Jake when he returned many coaches, and their family members to the CavDome last year as a coach for “Our fans often provided a home-court made regular appearances at practices and Greensboro Day’s junior varsity basketball advantage. Specifically, on Friday night games games. team. against our bigger rivals — Ravenscroft, Bishop McGuiness, Cardinal Gibbons — our student Kanoy hired Middle School students to babysit “This has been our life. It’s been a great place,” fans were extremely supportive,” Dolan says. her children, Jenni ’05 and Christopher ’07, Teresa says. “I hope that the new gym will “The gym would get very loud and would be a during volleyball practice. Jenni once pulled also become a very central part of the whole tough place for opponents to play.” the CavDome’s fire alarm during pre-season Durham Academy experience. I’m sure it will practice. Christopher got in on the act by become a really important part of the kids’ Lower School Nights at the CavDome also hanging over the mezzanine’s railing during a experience just like the old one was.”




if we don’t let them “get the wiggles out,” we are sending the message that we don’t “get” them, we don’t appreciate who they are and school is not the place for them. DA faculty took note and began to make changes. “We have loosened playground rules to allow for climbing ‘up the slide,’ and we make an attempt not to intervene as quickly when disagreements occur on the playground,” said B Y C I N DY M O O R E , L E A R N I N G S P E C I A L I S T, Preschool Director Sheppy Vann. “We allow for P R E - K TO 12 T H G R A D E child-guided activity rather than teacher-guided activity on the playground.” Thompson made several provocative points SNOWPLOWS AND HELICOPTERS: about the emotional life of boys in Raising Cain, What do these things have in common? Both his New York Times best-selling book. One that are pieces of heavy machinery, both can do resonated with me was just how sensitive and lots of damage and both cost a great deal of insightful boys really are, even those with the money. But those are not the commonalties roughest or toughest exterior. Boys are keenly Durham Academy faculty learned about on our aware and able to distinguish the adults who are professional development day at the beginning of less tolerant when it comes to understanding and the school year; we learned that these terms also accepting their high level of energy. Parents of describe parenting styles. boys seem to “get” this, but that’s not true of all Most of us were familiar with the term teachers. When boys begin to sense they are not helicopter parent, the parent who hovers over being seen, figuratively and literally, it becomes every aspect of his or her child’s life in and out of a challenge or power struggle in the classroom. school. The snowplow parent was a less familiar Honor who they are, respect their need to act term. But once I listened closely to psychologist stronger than they feel and they may just open up Michael Thompson, Ph.D., during opening and share a feeling or two. faculty meetings in August, I realized he was Recognizing the fine line between hurt speaking a familiar language. He described the feelings and bullying or “social cruelty” is hard snowplow parent as the one who “plows” every for parents and teachers. It’s something that obstacle out of their child’s way to make life as the faculty at Durham Academy Middle School easy as possible. has learned a lot about over the last few years. I am sure you are thinking that neither Many hours of parent, teacher and student of these parenting styles describes you or the education have been devoted to preventing and interactions you have with your own children. But understanding bullying behavior as the Middle the truth is, if you are a parent or even a teacher, School adopted the Olweus Bullying Prevention you likely have been guilty of the described Program. behavior at some point in a child’s life. In small Bullying is a “buzz” word these days, and doses, these can be good parenting or teaching one may think that it’s on the rise, but much qualities, but too much of anything is not good. of the research on this topic would suggest Thompson also shared important differently. Bullying has not increased, but our research with our faculty about boys’ social and awareness of it has. When I think about bullying, emotional development, and how we can best preventive programs like Olweus and the things support them in an academic setting. One of that go along with this topic, it all seems to come my take-home messages from Thompson’s talk back to friendships: how to make friends, how to was that “boys will be boys” and that’s okay. be a good friend and the skills needed to make Boys wrestle, boys write about violent things, that happen. Like anything else at school, some boys need movement in the classroom and none kids are really strong in the area of managing of these behaviors in isolation are predictors of friendships, while others need additional negative outcome for boys. support. In fact, Thompson said that if we don’t let One of the most surprising things we heard boys compete with one another, if we don’t let from Thompson was that children can begin them write about what’s interesting to them and making friends as soon as they can crawl. Even

What DA faculty learned from psychologist Michael Thompson

though they can’t talk or play, a baby who can crawl has the ability to “light up” in another child’s presence and give the unspoken message of “glad you are here.” After all, that’s why most children come to school. They come to see their friends. Much to their parents’ dismay, it’s not just to learn about the math, science or history or to get into the best college; it’s because they want to be with their friends. Some kids are better at friendship than others. But that’s where we come in; it’s our job as teachers to help them learn the skills needed to make and keep friends. We learned that there are two key ingredients in this friendship recipe: mutuality and reciprocity. Taking turns, sharing and doing something that someone else wants to do are all-important aspects of a good friendship. Thompson spoke of how important it is for schools to create a moral community, a community where the adults model appropriate friendship behavior, in and outside of the classroom. Children learn by example, and they will do what they see the adults in their life do. Responsive Classroom, a research-backed, classroom management approach used by DA Lower School, is a perfect example of how to create a community that fosters and models how we should treat one another. It covers the key points of mutuality and reciprocity, and it supports teaching appropriate social skills. Children tend to learn these skills from one another, but some kids need additional support. There is nothing more painful for a parent than watching their child crash and burn on the social scene. When this happens, most kids benefit from clear and direct instruction when they are not picking up on the unspoken social norms that their peers seem to get effortlessly. This is when the use of terms like “personal space” or “you are in my bubble” come into play. Additionally, some kids need the words or a script on what to say when they want to join an ongoing conversation. Others need to be taught the timing of when to tell a joke and similar tips. Children should be able to count on the adults in their lives to tell them when their behavior is socially off-putting. They need time to practice these skills just like they practice multiplication facts or memorize spelling words. In fact, some might argue that having the skills of reciprocity and mutuality, being able to take turns, share and think of someone else can serve us all well, whether we are 8 or 80.



Teachers make good citizen diplomats because they ‘have a broad reach’ B Y T I N A A N D E R S O N B E S S I A S ’78 , E N G L I S H, U P P E R S C H O O L


Tina Bessias

didn’t know what I was getting into. Teachers I’d always had administrative privileges, so I up with distant colleagues and glean useful for Global Classrooms is a program for teachers, could fix whatever wasn’t working. It turns out information and ideas through a scattered set it is funded by the U.S. State Department and it is the experience on the other side is a lot more of workshops. A symposium is smaller and more run by an organization called IREX. I read about confusing! I think I’d been patient in the past seminar-like. Everyone brings something to the when students had Moodle trouble, but now I the components: table and has a common purpose. It was here developed empathy. • an eight-week online course that I really came to understand the vision behind The content of the course opened many • a symposium in Washington, D.C. Teachers for Global Classrooms. Jennifer Gibson, windows in my mind. And I loved the exchanges • a two-week trip to one of six countries branch chief of teacher exchanges at the State (Ghana, Brazil, Ukraine, Department, explained Morocco, India or that the U.S. government Indonesia) believes teachers make • a closing good citizen diplomats. symposium in As they establish Washington, D.C. relationships with The application teachers and students was demanding, but abroad, they present a the questions were different face of America interesting. Why not from business executives try it? or tourists. They also I was accepted, bring their experience and the eight-week home, strengthening course started in Americans’ October 2011 — a very understanding of busy time at Durham foreign cultures and Academy. I wasn’t too perspectives. “Teachers worried, though. I had have a broad reach,” never taken a course Gibson observed. online, but I’d heard There were 12 about the experience of us assigned to the from colleagues. I had India cohort, and on minimal experience June 30 we set out from with Blackboard, but North Carolina, West I’d been teaching with Virginia, Nebraska, Iowa, Moodle for years. For Louisiana and California. content, the course Several of us found each was to focus on the other at Dulles Airport ABOVE: Saraswati, goddess of learning, inside the entrance to S.N. Kansagra School. theory and pedagogy in Washington; we met with the 68 teachers in the program. They were of globalizing school curricula. After a dozen up with the rest in Frankfurt, Germany, and from every academic discipline, every kind of years of teaching World Literature, I felt I knew in the wee hours of the morning, we arrived in school and every region of the country. Through Bangalore, India. something about that. scholarly exchanges and moments of panic, It turned out I had a lot to learn on all Orientation sessions began six hours we got to know each other in the virtual world counts. As I stumbled my way through online later. The Teacher Foundation, an Indian of Blackboard. And in February, we all met in discussion forums and struggled to locate nonprofit based in Bangalore, organized superb Washington. readings, it occurred to me that I’d never used presentations on impossibly large topics (Indian Before this program, I’d never thought a Course Management System as a student: culture, languages, history and education system) about the difference between a conference and I’d always determined the layout, written to give us a few landmarks by which to navigate continued on page 16 a symposium. At conferences, one tends to meet the instructions, created the links, etc. And 14



Tina Bessias

Tina Bessias

One of the requirements for Fellows in the Teachers for Global Classrooms program was to keep a blog. Mine was called “Seeking the Foreign and Familiar.” It can be viewed at http://tbessias.



TOP LEFT: Classroom in Blossom School, Bangalore. TOP RIGHT: Student guide who led us from main street through back alleys to school. BOTTOM: Tina Bessias with a young teacher at Blossom School.

In a middle school class, my colleague Linda Yaron and I happened upon the end of a lesson on the events of 9-11-01. The young teacher, Sabiya, welcomed us, and we offered to share our stories of the experience. Both teacher and students were rapt. “Hearing you tell all this makes me feel as if I’m there,” Sabiya said. She then asked us how we work with struggling students to help them do the reading or writing assignments. Linda and I ended up doing an impromptu lesson to model the concept of group work. This teacher wanted very much to learn, but she clearly had no training whatsoever.

e spent Wednesday (July 4!) visiting two schools in Bangalore. Blossom School was first. It’s a “low-cost private school,” meaning that parents who are laborers or owners of very small businesses can afford to send their children to it. A young man was one of two who met us at the main street and conducted us through some alleys to get to the entrance. His orange name badge identifies him as “student police.” The principal/owner spoke to us as a group, and he told us that the school has about 700 children and 25 teachers. There are more boys than girls (60-40) because families still place less importance on educating their girls. Though the school appeared to be entirely Muslim, he claimed it was secular. A fatwa notice on the bulletin board made us dubious. The principal claimed to have Smart Boards and computers available in large numbers, but we saw very little of that. What we could see was a closed-captioned TV operating in his office — the principal has installed video cameras in every class so that

he can see what was going on! Our Teacher Foundation guides were guessing that this investment in surveillance is intended to impress parents (and obviously enhance his control). The school is a private, for-profit organization, and it became clear that there was not a lot of investment in the educational methods or infrastructure in classes like this. I counted 63 children here! They had slate boards, chalk and handkerchiefs, and they were supposed to be learning to write their ABCs. There wasn’t much real instruction going on. In a middle school class, my colleague Linda Yaron and I happened upon the end of a lesson on the events of 9-11-01. The young teacher, Sabiya, welcomed us, and we offered to share our stories of the experience. Both teacher and students were rapt. “Hearing you tell all this makes me feel as if I’m there,” Sabiya said. She then asked us how we work with struggling students to help them do the reading or writing assignments. Linda and I ended up doing an impromptu lesson to model the concept of group work. This teacher wanted very much to learn, but she clearly had no training whatsoever. The other school we visited was a “government school,” the kind attended by those who have no other options. There was a little more evidence of instruction, and there were slightly better facilities, but nothing that gave you a sense that these children’s education had a prayer of improving their lives. Part of the purpose of visiting these two low-end schools was to give us a sense of the range of Indian education. For the next week, all of us in the Teachers for Global Classrooms program will be observing and participating in classes at elite private schools. That’s because it’s only the elite school teachers who have the ability to apply for and participate in international programs. My assignment is to a school in Rajkot. I start the placement on Friday.





fabulous food everywhere. We never got sick, and even the weather was good. It all felt like magic, and we’re still in awe that we got to experience it. In September, I completed my final project for the Teachers for Global Classrooms program: a resource guide for Durham Academy on globalizing the curriculum. It’s available as a website or a PDF document; see http://labs. I am excited about all that DA is doing to develop global engagement, and I’m equally excited about the possibilities that lie ahead. The Teachers for Global Classrooms program wrapped up with another symposium in October. I was one of six teachers who made presentations at the final gathering; I spoke about teaching students to recognize the literary archetype of “The Other” and use it to process encounters (both global and local) in real life. Each teacher who presented was part of a different travel cohort, so each had a personal base of support in the meeting room. But in reality, we were all delighted to be together and learning from each other one more time. Receiving the certificate at the end of the program was one of the most intensely bittersweet moments I can recall. The Teachers for Global Classrooms program is a new one; my 68-teacher cohort was the first to be selected and go through it. The second round is now in progress, and applications are open for the third. I am profoundly grateful for the experience and would recommend it to any teacher with the interest and the necessary time. Participation, of course, carries with it a charge to share the benefit as broadly as possible. A presentation at the N.C. Association of Independent Schools conference in November was one attempt to do so, and this article is another. I hope to be part of an extensive dialogue about ways to enrich the global content of DA’s curriculum. Tina Bessias

played on sitar and drums; it included a prayer in the coming weeks. Then we went out to visit and some “Oms” and very polished student schools [see blog post on page 15] and took presentations. Though the school describes a walking tour of Bangalore. Within a span of itself as secular, the Hindu influence was strong two miles, we went from a world of knowledge and the tone was reverential. More than 1,000 workers and skyscrapers to colonial monuments students sat quietly on large mats that covered and roundabouts to medieval-style markets and the cement floor. At several points the students craftsmen. rose to stand for prayer or song and then sat Following this orientation period, the 12 back down with incredible grace and dignity. It teachers fanned out across India in teams of seemed a beautiful way to begin the day. two. I was sent to the city of Rajkot, in Gujarat At the end of the week in Rajkot, I province, to spend a week at S.N. Kansagra traveled to Delhi for the closing sessions School. In many ways, this school is comparable with my colleagues from Teachers for Global to DA: it’s an academically strong day school Classrooms. It was deeply satisfying to share with several campuses and a well-developed our experiences and process them under the sports program; it is located in a small city at guidance of Padma Murthy of The Teacher moderate distance from the capital. Foundation and Ashley Snell, our coordinator on “Small” is a relative term, however — the IREX staff. We were also joined by Jennifer Rajkot has 1.2 million people — and the school has 7,000 students! As the guest of a veteran English teacher named Mala Singh, I observed assemblies and classes, did some team teaching, conducted a creative writing activity and held discussions with teachers and students. Though S.N. Kansagra ABOVE: Middle School students at Blossom School in Bangalore. School emphasizes engineering and math, its students read many works of literature Gibson from the State Department. Altogether, that are on our DA syllabi. the group represented an extraordinary mix of It was fascinating to be part of a school so global experience, perspective and commitment. comparable and yet so different from DA. The The last night of the program was spent in Agra, drop-off area for students is busy with traffic in where we rose early to see the Taj Mahal on a the mornings — like a DA scene on a bigger scale. beautiful, breezy morning. But inside the front door one comes face-to-face Back in Delhi, I said goodbye to my with Saraswati, goddess of learning. She’s huge colleagues and proceeded to the arrival area to and pink and smiling, and she sets an utterly wait for my husband, Pakis, to arrive from the different tone from that of any school entrance United States. We spent the next two weeks I’ve ever seen. traveling together in Rajasthan and Kerala. This One of my favorite elements of the school personal extension of the professional trip was day at S.N. Kansagra was the opening assembly completely different and equally thrilling. We that took place in the central courtyard. It saw palaces and plantations, rode an elephant, began with incense and traditional music being savored a day and night on a houseboat and ate continued from page 14


Tina Bessias

Tina Bessias


TOP: Girish seeing us off as we depart on boat ride. BOTTOM: Note to Girish.

I don’t know how many books Girish can buy with $10, and I wish I felt more confident that his faith in his daughter’s school is well-placed. But mitzvah is about doing a good thing, not fixing everything. I wish there were some way to reconnect with Girish in a year or two or even in five years. I’d love to know how things unfold in his life and his daughter’s. But travel is full of open endings, and this is almost certainly one.

few days before Pakis left Durham to join me in New Delhi, our neighbor Jennifer gave him a $10 bill and said, “Give it to a worthy cause (mitzvah) and bring back a story.” So here’s the story. It begins before Pakis arrived in India, when I toured a low-cost private school in Bangalore with my colleagues in the Teachers for Global Classrooms program. I remember asking who the clientele was for that school, and the answer was, “Drivers, very small shop owners, people who have little education themselves but have made it into the lowest rung of the middle class. These parents can barely afford to pay for tuition, books and uniforms (all of which are free in public schools), but they see English as the key to a better life for their children. Public schools use the local language as the primary medium of instruction, while these private schools use English.” They advertise that they use English, that is. There’s little accountability, and we heard at least as much Kannada as English in the classes we visited. It’s really not clear that the education being offered is worth even the small amount of money being paid. Still, the parents pin their hopes on it and send their children. A couple of weeks later, Pakis and I were visiting sites in New Delhi and Jaipur (northern India), and later in Kerala (southern India). We had a driver in each place, and each one was sending his only child to an English medium private school. The Delhi/Jaipur driver, Avtar

Verma, had picked up a significant amount of English, and he was quite enterprising. He talked to us and made excellent suggestions for things we could do with time not filled by our official itinerary; he kept cold bottled water and helped Pakis negotiate the purchase of a SIM card for our cellphone. He hopes someday to open his own tour company, and we believe he will. Our driver in Kerala was named Girish. He was with us (or we with him) for five days. Like Verma, he was an excellent driver and a caring person. He, however, saw no possibility of advancing to a higher position in his life; as he said, “I am a poor man. I not know English.” He saw possibilities for his daughter, though, and he was scraping together money to send her to a private, English medium school. The new school year had started June 1 (we were there in late July), and Girish had managed to purchase three of the five textbooks his daughter needed. With the money he earned in five days of work for us, Girish planned to meet immediate family needs and buy his daughter one more book. The mitzvah opportunity was clear. While we were away from Girish on the house boat, we asked the crew to translate a note into Malayalam, the local language in Kerala. The next day, Girish was waiting for us on the dock and drove us to the airport. There we gave him a tip plus Jennifer’s $10 in a card. We would have liked to explain the mitzvah concept, but it would have been too much. I don’t know how many books Girish can buy with $10, and I wish I felt more confident that his faith in his daughter’s school is wellplaced. But mitzvah is about doing a good thing, not fixing everything. Courtesy of our friend Jennifer, I think we did that. I wish there were some way to reconnect with Girish in a year or two or even in five years. I’d love to know how things unfold in his life and his daughter’s. But travel is full of open endings, and this is almost certainly one.



‘Forever changed’ by a summer trip to Senegal hen the plane touched the ground in peanuts, Coca-Colas and placed in front of a Senegal, I knew at that moment I would be television turned to MTV with the volume as forever changed. The trip was one that took loud as it could go. This happened frequently me outside of my comfort zone, challenging me at the various hotels and restaurants we mentally and emotionally, as I navigated our visited, so it wasn’t a surprise that Maria and cultural differences and explored their way of her family also thought we would like to watch life. I grew as a person while creating memories MTV. and relationships that will last a lifetime. Our Maria’s family was extremely hospitable; trip began in the capital city Dakar and lasted we were forewarned that when Senegalese 13 days. We visited schools, mosques, churches say “please make yourselves at home,” they and historical sites, and traveled to Goree and really mean just that. The other three teachers Sippo Islands, Sokone and Toubacouta. and I were left alone throughout the day to My favorite memory of the trip was enjoy the comforts of their home while Maria’s spending the day with a Senegalese family teenage boys did what most teenage boys do: in Dakar. Everyone on our trip had the they laid on the couch while working on the opportunity to spend a Sunday at the home of a computer, texting their friends and playing Senegalese teacher. About a week into the trip, we divided into groups and headed to the local school to meet our host teachers. The four teachers in my group were excited about our adventure but nervous about the day, being away from our group and guides. Maria, an elementary teacher, and her family hosted us. I met Maria the week prior when we visited her school in Dakar. Maria’s oldest son, 15-year-old Moussa, met us at the school and TOP: Maria gave Jessica Whilden and each of the other guests a traditional Senegalese outfit. walked us to their house. It was a BOTTOM LEFT: Maria and the other Senegalese women were hard at work in the kitchen, preparing a Sunday meal. long, quiet walk as we took in the BOTTOM RIGHT: Everyone eats from the same platter. Utensils are not used, so each person molds the food into a ball before eating it. scenery, smells and kind gestures of the people we passed. Although there are lots of cars in Dakar, they are not Nerf basketball on their bedroom door. As After we “friended” one another, Moussa as common as in the United States or in their customary female roles go, Maria and the other graciously took us on a tour of their home surrounding villages. Most people walk, take women were working in the kitchen to prepare a and showed us some of their daily routines. In taxis or ride the “Car Rapid” to work, schools, traditional Sunday Senegalese meal. Dakar and the surrounding villages we visited, markets, mosques and churches. After sitting and staring awkwardly at families build their houses as they have the Our Senegalese host family was amazingly each other for a while, the silence only broken money, section-by-section. It can take decades kind and generous, giving up their entire Sunday by MTV and the sounds of the women cooking, for a family to finish their home. The same was to entertain us. When we walked into Maria’s we decided to try to communicate with Moussa true for Maria’s house. We entered through a home, her four children, two sisters, uncle and his brothers via hand gestures. Moussa beautiful, hand-carved wooden door. There and neighbor greeted us. Since we only spoke grabbed his laptop, logged onto Facebook and were carefully placed decorative tiles throughout English and our host family only spoke French proceeded to gesture for us to “friend” him. It the bathroom, kitchen and walkways, and and Wolof, it was challenging to communicate was confirmation that although many things bright beautiful clothes hung from the lines with one another at first. We were asked to are different in our daily lives, there are many outside. Even though they had beds and several have a seat on their couches and we were given commonalties! bedrooms, the family slept outside on mats



Photos courtesy of Jessica Whilden


B Y J E S S I C A C RO W E W H I L D E N ’ 0 0, K I N D E RG A R T E N

TOP LEFT: Running water is not common in the area, and Whilden washes her hands in a bowl before eating. TOP MIDDLE: The four visiting teachers were invited to sit by the television and enjoy a snack of peanuts and Coca-Colas. TOP RIGHT: Moussa opened his laptop, logged into Facebook and encouraged the teachers to “friend” him. LEFT: The teachers took gifts for their host family, and earbuds were the most popular gift.

under the stars, mostly because it gets too hot in their house without air conditioning and they have limited access to electricity to run fans. The upstairs was still unfinished; weathered rebar was coming from the concrete floor with markings for future plans. Throughout the day, we tried to learn and honor the customs of Maria’s family. Learning the dinner routines was by far the hardest and most specific. We began by learning to wash our hands in a bowl of water on the floor, something we were becoming accustomed to because running water is not very common in the area. We watched — and tried to help — as the family set up our afternoon dinner. We four teachers and five of Maria’s family members sat around one plate of food on the living room floor, and just as many sat around a smaller plate in the back hallway.

Maria covered our laps with cloths for our first communal meal, knowing we would be messy, although family members typically do not cover themselves when they are eating. She showed us how we were to eat with our right hand — all of us eating from the same platter — as she explained that the left hand was reserved for the restroom. It is common for the meat and vegetables to be in the middle of the platter and rice all around. When eating this way, the mother will pick up meat and vegetables from the middle and give it to people sitting around the plate, monitoring how much everyone eats, and then she will eat last. Because they do not use eating utensils, each person molds his or her food into a ball before eating it. Although it was hard to learn how to make a ball with the food in our hand, we got better with practice. At the end of the meal, we all laughed at the amount of food that ended up on the cloths draped across our laps. Despite our mess, Maria insisted we eat a typical Senegalese dessert of fresh mangos back on the sofa! After dinner we had planned to give our hosts gifts we had brought from the United States. Although it is not customary to do this in Senegal, our host families were told in advance that we would be bringing them gifts. Each host family had been given a stipend that enabled them to provide food and gifts for their guests. Maria carefully picked out bright, traditional Senegalese outfits for each of us. The most popular gift that we offered was a pair of iPod earbuds. We took only one set, not knowing if they would even be able to use them, but I suspect Maria’s sons are still arguing over who gets to use them! The day was truly an incredible experience; we learned so much about Maria’s family, their

traditions and daily life. Each had their own roles, working together to make the family successful. Maria, Moussa and their family were so kind, hospitable and generous — a spirit we experienced throughout Senegal. As we left their house, Moussa walked us to a place where we could get a taxi, instructed the driver where to take us and negotiated the price we would pay him. We were thankful, as the language barrier made navigating around Senegal more difficult than I had anticipated. Back at the hotel, we shared stories and pictures of the home visits with our fellow traveling companions. While my day with Maria’s family is just one snapshot of our trip to Senegal, I will carry with me the memories of a country that so graciously hosted and opened their homes to us. While there are many differences between the daily life of a Senegalese and my life here in the United States, the guiding principals are the same. I am fortunate to work at a school that believes so highly in professional development opportunities for its teachers, for this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. EDITOR’S NOTE: Preschool teacher Jessica Crowe Whilden ’00 traveled to Senegal last summer with World View, a global awareness program based at UNC-Chapel Hill. The program focuses on a different region of the world each year, and selects a group of educators to visit that region. The primary mission is to give educators a cultural and demographic perspective to integrate into their curriculums and to share these experiences with their school communities. Whilden’s trip fit well with DA’s kindergarten social studies curriculum, which helps children learn about similarities and differences among their own families as well as families in other parts of the world.





idway through her presentation for Durham Academy Upper School students, retired Air Force combat photographer Stacy Pearsall displayed a photo of Army Capt. Donnie R. Belser Jr., a father of two whom she described with fondness. Later, her face was solemn as his name appeared on a list of men and women who died in Iraq’s Diyala province that she displayed for students. In a span of less than four months in Diyala province, Pearsall experienced the deaths of about 60 servicemen and servicewomen. Four years after her military career was forced to an abrupt end by a disabling combat injury, she continues to grapple with the physical and emotional scars of war. The worst part of conflict isn’t in those moments spent dodging fire with 85 pounds of combat and camera gear weighing you down, Pearsall told students at the Upper School’s annual Veterans Day assembly, held Nov. 15. “The moments after combat are the worst. ... When you’re in combat, you’re in survival mode. You’re compartmentalizing,” said Pearsall, one of just two women to have earned the National Press Photographers Association’s Military Photographer of the Year award, and the only woman to have won it twice. After the last bullet is fired, however, there’s time to reflect on what was only narrowly avoided. “When I joined the military, I was 17 and had a bright future ahead of me,” Pearsall recalled thinking after her devastating injury. “And then I’m lying in a hospital bed at 28 and have no future as a combat photographer.” Upper School English teacher Jordan Adair invited Pearsall to visit DA after seeing a PBS NewsHour piece on her last spring, he said. He has invited veterans, from reservists to Tuskegee Airmen, to address Upper School


students during the week of Veterans Day since 2004. Inspired by his father’s service as a Marine Corps aviator in World War II and by the many veterans he’s befriended over the years, Adair approached thenUpper School Director Michael Ulku-Steiner with the idea to honor veterans through an Upper School assembly. “He whole-heartedly supported the idea, and I ran with it,” Adair recalled. ABOVE: An Iraqi soldier from the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 5th Division, tries “My primary reason for to kick open a gate during a cordon and search for insurgence and weapons caches in doing this in the first place Chubinait, Iraq, on Feb. 3, 2007. was to honor the service of America’s military veterans and to educate a generation that seems to have released Shooter: Combat from Behind the Camera, lost sight of what our military personnel actually a book of her combat photos and essays — to do. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were in full share her story and those of the men and women force when we started, and not nearly enough whose lives she documented during her time with attention was getting paid to the sacrifices our the elite “Combat Camera” unit. soldiers were making.” During the hour-long assembly, she showed David Bradley ’13, a student in Adair’s DA students dozens of photos documenting the Literary and Artistic Responses to War class, was lives of servicemen and servicewomen — from moved by Pearsall’s talk. moments of levity, like an impromptu Air Force“As she explained, ‘a camera can be as Army football game, to photos of severely injured powerful as a weapon,’ ” Bradley said. “Her men and women, illustrating war’s harsh reality. goal was to take ‘calculated’ pictures not only Bradley and many of his classmates were of combat, but of the daily life of the soldiers profoundly affected by Pearsall’s and Dunaway’s she worked with — to ‘shine a light on the whole stories and of those they told through their reality of combat.’ ” photography. Pearsall and her husband, fellow retired “I have the utmost respect for those who combat photographer Andy Dunaway, made serve the U.S. and the values that they exhibit, a two-day visit to the Upper School, during such as discipline, sacrifice and unconditional which they participated in discussions with compassion for those beside them,” the Upper photography students and in two history School senior said. “Indeed, I want to end up in a classes, in addition to the Veterans Day assembly career where I can serve my nation, but regardless and discussions with Adair’s classes. While in of the career I end up in, the veterans I have had the Triangle, the couple also participated in the honor to meet have all demonstrated the roundtable discussions at Duke University and values by which I ought to strive to live my life.” UNC-Chapel Hill, and Pearsall photographed 95 After the assembly, in an informal veterans at the Durham Veterans Affairs Hospital discussion with students in Adair’s Literary and for her portrait collection, The Veterans Portrait Artistic Response to War class, Pearsall’s voice Project. cracked as she recalled witnessing Belser’s fatal Pearsall now works as a commercial injury. photographer and is owner and director of the “The day before Donnie died, he was singing Charleston Center for Photography in South Happy Birthday to his son,” she said. “Every year, Carolina. She and Dunaway speak three or four his son will associate his birthday with his father’s times a month to groups like those gathered at death. We would never know that unless I bring DA. It’s important to Pearsall — who in October Donnie to life through my photos.”


Stacy Pearsall

Combat photographer offers glimpse into military life at veterans day assembly



come by my respect for the military honestly, for I have listened to my father's stories, the stories of the veterans who have visited my classroom over the last eight years and those of countless others I've either read about or seen on film. They tell of how their service has changed them profoundly, how they fought alongside some of the finest people they'll ever know and how the events of those days gone by are as vivid to them now as they were 10, 20, 30, even 60 years ago. Today, you don't have to look any further than your local newspaper, or on the evening news, to see the role that the men and women of America's armed forces are playing each day in the mission in Afghanistan and in postings around the world. The risks are considerable, the commitment significant. This is the reality American soldiers accept every time they are deployed. But surprisingly, American civilians have little concept of the sacrifices these soldiers make on a near daily basis. One commentator on the New York Times editorial page lamented recently that Veterans Day “has become, in the minds of many Americans, little more than a point between Halloween and Thanksgiving when the banks are closed and mail isn’t delivered.” With each passing day the ranks of America's veterans swell, and we learn anew the meaning of Veterans Day and why we celebrate it each Nov. 11. Originally known as Armistice Day in honor of the end of the World War I, President Eisenhower signed a bill in 1954 officially changing the name to Veterans Day in order to honor veterans of all wars. I decided more than eight years ago that Durham Academy needed to have an annual celebration of Veterans Day, not just a Morning Meeting where we might briefly remind our students of the day, but a more formal occasion during a full assembly period. To that end, I involved students from my class on the Literary and Artistic Response to War in selecting a military veteran speaker and

planning a video introduction to the history of Veterans Day. One of my initial goals was to educate the students at DA, many of whom didn’t know much about this national holiday. Perhaps more importantly, I hoped through these assemblies to give some notice to Veterans Day, and to do so in a way that fosters understanding in the DA community about the sacrifices American military personnel have made over the years and to shed some light on what it truly means to be a veteran. The two greatest dividends I've received from these assemblies are the extraordinary veterans I've gotten to know and the number of students and teachers who have been profoundly moved by their stories. Five World War II pilots spoke at our first assembly in 2004, and the effect on the audience was palpable. Norman Gaddis, who first trained in 1943 in the precursor to today’s Air Force, the Army Air Corps, flew 72 missions over North Vietnam before he was shot down. He was held prisoner in the infamous Hanoi Hilton for five-and-a-half years, the first thousand days in solitary confinement, but he never doubted once that his government would win his release. Hal Shook flew dozens of missions over Europe in his P-51 Mustang, including many sorties in support of the D-Day invasion. The late Bill McDonald was one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, and when I asked him to tell me what the scariest part of his training was he deadpanned, “Taking the train from Detroit to Mississippi.” As one of the first AfricanAmerican pilots in the Army, the significance of Bill’s story was not lost on the audience. My father, Fred L. Adair, served in the Marines as a dive-bomber pilot, and to this day says his time in the service of his country was the most formative period of his life. Lt. Steven Ward (a cousin of Sarah Sessoms, DA Class of 2009) and Jim Sikes (father of Yates Sikes, Class of 2008) participated via the way I’ve gotten many of the veterans to DA — through student connections. Lt. Ward served in Afghanistan in a unit that worked in rural villages to build relationships with the people. Jim Sikes, on the other hand, served in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot, one of the most hazardous duties of that war. Their stories, vastly different from one another, were equally compelling to the audience. At last year’s assembly, Al Bonifacio, a

Filipino immigrant, spoke powerfully of serving in the Army Reserves. He left his well-paying job as a nurse in a Winston-Salem hospital to serve in Iraq as a medic, taking a significant pay cut and leaving his family behind, all because he wanted to serve his adopted country. Two years ago, West Point graduate Lt. Dave Uthlaut visited campus along with his wife, Haley, also a West Point grad. After both of them spoke to my class, Dave Uthlaut made a measured but no less emotionally resonant presentation at the assembly about his multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and of the men he served with, some of whom didn’t make it back home. This year's assembly, with Stacy Pearsall and her remarkable story of courage, dedication and skill, was our first featuring a female veteran. The response from both faculty and students was overwhelmingly positive. The assemblies over the last eight years have only reinforced the respect I have for America’s veterans. In the end, I believe their stories have helped me demonstrate the importance of celebrating Veterans Day and passing along some of the vital cultural history of America's military veterans to Upper School students and faculty. Author Caroline Alexander wrote just recently about the meaning of Veterans Day: “Today, veterans’ tales are more likely to be safeguarded in books and replicated in movies than self-narrated to a respectful throng. Detailed knowledge of the experience in which a veteran’s memories were forged is thus made common. To learn these stories is both civilian duty and commemoration.” We at Durham Academy get the rare privilege of hearing the stories of returning veterans, to bear witness to their sacrifice and honor. The vast majority of the students who attend these Veterans Day assemblies have not experienced war, and hopefully never will. They may not know anyone who has been to war. Veterans, on the other hand, know its awesome horror and its lasting effects. We need these veterans to help us understand. The legendary Admiral William "Bull" Halsey once wrote, "There are no great men. Just great challenges which ordinary men, out of necessity, are forced by circumstance to meet." Celebrating Veterans Day is our way of honoring those extraordinary men and women.




‘Mulch Fans’ cheer DA field hockey to 11th state championship B Y M IK E A N D J E N N Y B L A Z I N G , PA R E N T S O F

ur experience with DA field hockey started with our oldest daughter, Lauren, being volunteered by her good friend Mary D’Amico to play goalie for the seventh-grade team in 2004. It ended this year with our younger daughter, Robin, taking part in an exciting victory in the second overtime period of the state championship game. During our journey, we have experienced some remarkable victories and a few agonizing defeats, but what we have cherished most and will miss most is being an immediate part of the DA field hockey family. This family is a large, extended one whose bonds are a product of the personnel, environment and traditions that have evolved over a relatively long time around the field hockey program. Like all families, the DA one relies on great leadership. Ours comes from Judy Chandler, DA’s longtime coach. Her coaching style is a very good fit for a relatively smaller school, like DA, that emphasizes academics and sports in that order. She has some students of the game, who play field hockey outside of the school season, and a lot of students who like to play the game but do so mostly during the school season. Her goal is always to get the most out of both groups. She sets expectations early and then uses a mixture of nurture, delegation and some old-fashioned coaching to accomplish her goal. Given that her résumé now has 10 state championships, she appears to be pretty good at it. She gets help not only from her athletes, but also from her immediate family. Her daughter, Heather, has been a longtime assistant coach, and her husband, Dave, is the official team documentarian, shooting photos during the year and, at the end of the year, giving a keepsake DVD slideshow that highlights each player’s role on the team. How well the families and fans bond on the sidelines is just as important to the program as how well the players bond on the field. Long 22

ago, the DA field hockey parents and fans realized that the place to cheer on the team is not in the bleachers with the sun beaming in their eyes, but directly across in the shade of the neatly planted trees, on the mulch-covered hillock overlooking the field. We gaze across to the bleachers at the squinting visitors, while enjoying our status as “the Mulch Fans.” Here the fans strategically CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: Durham Academy field hockey players celebrate their position themselves, state championship, double overtime victory over Providence Day School. • The team posed to avoid having too for a photo after the hard-fought game. • The 2012 title is the 11th state championship for much of their vision DA, and the 10th state championship for coach Judy Chandler. blocked by tree trunks. This is a place where friendships are reinforced … a coming together in adventures. All of these inter-related subgroups form a thriving community of supportive and camaraderie. engaged fans. There are the tense parents who rarely sit In high school field hockey, championships and prefer pacing up and down the walkway are most often won by teams with one or two looking for sources of support. They engage in heated and informed discussions and evaluations exceptional players who can dominate a game of the sport and game. In contrast, there are the or by teams with an abundance of greatly experienced players who find and exploit the relaxed parents who form a neat row of sports weak spots of less fortunate teams. DA’s team chairs and catch up on the news of the week. They tune in to the game at important moments, had one senior who was going on to play NCAA field hockey next year and two underclass players but they are happy to share each other’s who were being evaluated for play at that level. company as well. All three are exceptional players, but none can The DA student fans arrive to cheer on be labeled as dominating. Due to injuries, during their friends, often sitting directly on the mulch, most of the season we had only five returning and enjoying making “Tide moments” out of starters: two sophomores, one junior and two whatever they’re wearing. Finally, there are the seniors. We had a goalie who was also a senior much-appreciated faculty, as well as alumni but who had no previous game experience as and alumni parents, who come to support their former teammates or the younger teammates of goalie, and two of the four defensive players their daughters who have moved on to collegiate in front of her were new. Jennie Jaggers, the


Photos by Dave Chandler


L AU R E N B L A Z I N G ’11 A N D RO B I N B L A Z I N G ’13

extraordinary young woman who played goalie, volunteered to do so in the spring when it was clear we had no one to play goalie. She took the time to get training over the spring and summer and put a great deal of effort into being the best she could be at the position. The team had promise, but clearly Chandler had some work to do to get to the level needed to win her 10th championship this season. It was clear from the start that this team was special. First, these girls cared for and respected each other. We had three girls get injured before or early in the season. Despite their injuries, they showed up at every practice, cheered at every game and helped with tasks like collecting statistics to make the team better. On the field, it did not matter who scored, just that the team scored. This became clear in the early games of the season, which were lopsided wins but very good for building a sense of teamwork. Our first test came in an away game against Chapel Hill High School, which we won 3-0. Three weeks later, we were undefeated and came up against Charlotte Country Day School,

always a formidable rival. We lost 2-1, but we learned that intangible factors like effort, awareness and desire were going to be very important for us. The rest of the regular season saw us lose a tough away game to Providence Day School, score two league victories over rival Ravenscroft and notch a key overtime win against Carrboro High School at home. We drew the fourth seed in the tournament, meaning we had to play Ravenscroft at home for a third time in the quarterfinals. We had lost three times to them the year before, with the last in the semifinal game of the state tournament. This year, we beat Ravenscroft for a third time to advance to the semifinals against top-seeded Charlotte Country Day. In that game, on a Friday, we fell behind 1-0 in the latter part of the first half, and then tied it in the middle of the second half. The game ebbed back and forth, ending in a tie. We would have to go to overtime. Overtime consists of two 10-minute extra periods that are sudden victory, and the teams must cut back from 11 on 11 players to seven on seven players. Overtime is as much a test of conditioning and desire as it is field hockey skill. Country Day came out strong and had three immediate shots on goal, one of which hit the post. We came just one inch from a defeat. DA came back and had opportunities, as did they, but neither team was able to score in either of the two 10-minute overtimes. The game would be decided by strokes — penalty shots — five for each team. Country Day started and made their first; DA countered. Country Day added a second; we missed our second and were down 2-1. Our rookie goalie, Jennie Jaggers, had never experienced the penalty-shot ending. She had done penalty shots in practice, and her teammates had worked with her, supported her and watched her improve on this aspect of her game during the year. Now we were down one goal, and all eyes were on her. She made a great diving stop on Country Day’s third attempt and deflected their fourth shot. We converted both our third and fourth shots and were now up one goal, 4-3. Jenny stopped Country Day’s fifth shot and we were the victors, 4-3, without needing our last shot. No one on the team was

surprised that our senior goalie had stepped up and shown how desire, hard work and motivation can lead to great success. The championship game was the next morning. We were to play Providence Day (PD), the only other team that had beaten us this season. PD had won Friday’s semifinal game 1-0 with no overtime. This time we scored first, dominating the early part of the game, and then the momentum changed. By the end of the first half, PD was dominating and they scored just before halftime. PD came out strong after halftime, but the momentum again changed; DA dominated the second part of the second half but could not score. It was a tie game, and we had to play our second overtime in as many days. Would we have enough stamina left to win? The parents were thinking, “Can we, the parents, survive the stress of another overtime game?” DA came out strong and never let up. We were up against a good defense, with PD’s All-State goalie making save after save. Neither team scored in the first overtime; the game went to a second overtime. Again, we wondered if DA would have the strength to keep playing. We came out strong again, beating their players to the ball time after time, but could not score. It was clear our players were tired, but they were not going to give less than 100 percent. The fans, too, were giving it all they had. Many were getting hoarse, and no one was seated. On the field, we were pressing to score. We had three players repeatedly sprinting into the offensive end, trying to support a score. Finally, on one of these runs with just under five minutes left, sophomore Jordan Berry was able to put a shot under the arm of their goalie, and the championship was ours. The DA parents and fans felt elated and shared in the team’s sense of accomplishment. It was clear to all that the team had learned how to want one, how to earn one and finally how to win one together. AUTHOR’S NOTE: This was the second field hockey state championship for our family. Lauren had won one as a sophomore on a special team that won seven overtime games during its championship run. We and our girls feel privileged to have been part of this program. We feel it was a key part of igniting and stoking a love for field hockey in our two girls. This passion in them has resulted in both securing spots on the Duke field hockey team, and, for Lauren, a spot on the U-21 national team as starting goalkeeper.







AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Kathy McPherson

of her reach. The top three divers in three-meter made the Olympic team, and being so close to the cut-off made Leydon-Mahoney want to push herself even more. When asked how she feels about competing in the 2016 Olympics, LeydonMahoney said, “It something that I have always aspired to do, and to have the potential to possibly be an Olympian is such an honor. I really look up to my teammates Nick McCrory and Abby Johnston who went to the Olympics this summer, and to see their hard work and sacrifice paying off makes me really want the same for myself.” Trailing not far behind at training schedule is the pool is Christy Cutshaw, rigorous and tiring, who is also striving for Olympic but very rewarding. gold. Fourteen-year-old Mondays, Cutshaw was born in China, Wednesdays and was adopted and lived in Saturdays include Atlanta. The Cutshaw family weights and moved to Durham in 2010 so B Y M IM I PAT T E R S O N ’14 diving; Tuesdays she could train with the Duke and Sundays are diving program. Currently dedicated solely attending Durham Academy TOP: Christy Cutshaw and Gracia Leydon-Mahoney urham Academy doesn’t have a diving to diving; and as an eighth-grader, she enjoys came to Durham to train with Duke head diving coach team, but DA has two divers who are aiming for Thursdays include spending her free time reading Drew Johansen, who also coached the 2012 Olympic the Olympics. Junior Gracia Leydon-Mahoney diving with an and playing with her dogs. diving team. BOTTOM: Leydon-Mahoney competes at is a 16-year-old diver for the USA National hour of Pilates to Cutshaw has traveled the USA Diving Olympic trials in June 2012. Team. She began diving at age 9 and became so stretch, tone and to numerous competitions passionate about the sport that she earned a work every muscle where she has pulverized her spot on the national team only two years later. she needs to strive for as close-to-perfection as competition. Placing second at zones, fourth Christy Cutshaw, a DA eighth-grader, isn’t far the board will allow. at nationals and first at regionals, Cutshaw behind her and is also competing nationally. One can only imagine working toward has proven herself to be a fierce competitor. Leydon-Mahoney has made an impact a gold medal with homework, studying and Beginning in 2009, she has participated in the in national and international competitions, finding a work/life balance every single day. USA Spring Junior Championships, Summer including her first major victory at the British Leydon-Mahoney tackles every task she is given Region Championships and the USA Diving Diving Championships in 2008. As she began without a complaint. “With a busy schedule, Age Group Championships. Through 2010 and to grow as a diver, Leydon-Mahoney was balancing many different priorities can be 2011, Cutshaw continued to compete nationally ranked nationally at competitions including difficult, but in the end, all the time that I spend at multiple championships. With impressive the 18th and 19th FINA Junior World Diving is worth it,” she said. “I genuinely enjoy working records, there is no stopping this Olympic Championships, 2011 USA Diving Winter toward my goals because I am doing something hopeful who continues to work hard each day to National Championships, 2011 AT&T National that I love.” Even with a strict schedule, she is still make her dreams come true. Diving Championships, 2011 Junior Pan able to have some free time for hanging out with Cutshaw loves to dive because it makes American Diving Championships and 2012 AT&T friends, dancing and shopping. her happy. When asked how it feels to know the National Diving Championships. As she began to become more of a serious Olympics are within her grasp, Cutshaw said, Known among her peers to be always diver, Leydon-Mahoney pushed herself harder “I feel really proud thinking of becoming an smiling, Leydon-Mahoney is a wonderful and harder. She knew she wanted to become Olympian. I know that I really want to achieve addition to the Durham Academy community. an Olympian when she first watched diving that dream.” Originally from Newton, Mass., she moved to competitions on television when she was 9. After Congratulations, Gracia Leydon-Mahoney Durham to train with Drew Johansen, head going to the Olympic trials last summer and and Christy Cutshaw. You inspire us all, knowing diving coach at Duke University and coach of the placing seventh on the three-meter board and that having passion for what you love is truly the 2012 U.S. Olympic team. Her six-days-a-week 10th on platform, the 2012 Olympics were out stuff dreams are made of.

Turning a (Web) page in the evolution of B Y M E LO DY G U Y TO N B U T T S , D I G I TA L CO M M U N I C AT I O N S S P E C I A L I S T


lot can happen in six years, especially when time is measured in gigabytes. In the years since, Durham Academy’s website, was last redesigned in 2007, trends in website design and organization have evolved by leaps and bounds. The Veracross information management system has become the go-to place for members of the DA community to find sensitive information. Social media has taken on a new importance for the school. And more and more of us are accessing websites primarily via mobile devices, rather than on full-screen computers. So the time is ripe for a change on, and it should take effect in late spring or early summer. We think you’ll find the new Durham Academy website, more than a year in the works, intuitively navigable with a refreshingly clean design. DA elected to partner with Finalsite, a Connecticut-based websitedevelopment company that primarily serves independent schools, in the creation of the new website after vetting several independent-schoolfocused vendors. Finalsite stood apart from the pack partly because of the flexibility that it offers; for example, while it could be costly and laborintensive to make design changes on the former website, we can do so with ease on the new site. Upon visiting the new homepage, you will be greeted by large, engaging photos accompanied by headlines designed to direct visitors to upcoming events, such as admissions tours; ongoing items of importance, such as the Evergreen capital campaign; and recent news stories about what makes DA such a special place. These photos and headlines will be refreshed frequently so that the site never feels stale. While we hope that members of the DA community will visit the website often, our primary target audience doesn’t come to campus every day. We believe the new website will be especially valuable to prospective parents and faculty, community members and alumni. Every page on the new site — with the possible exception of a few yet-to-be-created protected pages, which will be accessible to members of the DA family with the aid of a common password — is publicly visible. All sensitive information is now located on the password-protected Veracross system, which went into schoolwide use in 2011. It’s important to know, however, that there’s plenty to be found on the new for everyone, even those who have called themselves Cavaliers for many moons. A sampling of the new and improved features follows: • The site employs a responsive Web design, meaning that whether

ABOVE: This screenshot shows a design considered for one of the pages on the new DA website.

you visit it on a desktop computer, a tablet or a smartphone, each page is optimized to fit your screen perfectly with no loss of functionality. Recent analyses estimate that mobile devices account for nearly 20 percent of all U.S. Web traffic, a number that’s sure to soar in the coming years. With the new website, we are ahead of the curve in serving those on-the-go visitors. • The focus on mobile devices will be further emphasized with a new Durham Academy iPhone and iPad app, which will be rolled out as a trial feature soon after the launch of the redesigned website. Features include access to DA’s calendars, news stories and faculty/staff directory. You can locate the app, which will be labeled “DA App,” in the Apple App Store. • Athletics now occupies a top-level tab of its own, making it easy to locate scores, schedules and athletics-related news. Sports are a valuable part of the DA experience for many students, and it is important to showcase the school’s tradition of excellence not only in its classrooms, but also on its fields and courts. • What makes DA unique — its people — is front and center. Each division’s homepage includes a welcome letter from the school director, and the employee directory now includes biographical information for most members of the faculty and staff. • It’s easier than ever to stay connected to DA via social media. Buttons linking to our social media accounts — Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Pinterest — can be found on the bottom of each page. We hope you’ll enjoy Durham Academy’s new online home. Feel free to contact the Office of Communications at with questions or comments. EDITOR’S NOTE: Melody Guyton Butts joined the DA Communications Office in June, and has been responsible for revamping the school’s website and increasing its presence in social media. Butts graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a B.A. in journalism and English. She has seven years of experience with newspapers, working as copy editor and page designer with the Herald-Sun and most recently as the schools reporter.





• Commencement moves to

Memorial Day weekend

Durham Academy’s 39th senior commencement will take place on May 24, the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, at Memorial Hall on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill. It will be the first DA commencement to be held before the close of the school year. Dr. Betsy Bennett, who retired in January as director of the N.C. Museum of Natural Science, will be the featured speaker. Bennett has been called a visionary, and in her 22 years as director, she transformed the museum from a drab annex to a nationally recognized science center and the state’s most visited museum. She is a former high school and middle school science and math teacher, and holds an undergraduate degree from Hollins College and a doctoral degree from the University of Virginia.

• In The Pocket celebrates

CD release with benefit concert at Motorco

In The Pocket, a jazz-rock ensemble composed of Durham Academy students and faculty members, performed at downtown Durham’s Motorco Music Hall on Oct. 26 to celebrate the release of its second CD, Further On Up The Road. The event was a fundraiser for KidZNotes, a nonprofit that provides classical music training and instruments to students in low-income Durham neighborhoods, with the evening’s ticket and CD sales donated to KidZNotes through DA’s KidZNotes Club. Further On Up The Road is available in the Upper School student store, on CD Baby, iTunes and many other online retailers.

• Third Annual Turkey Trot

draws 435 runners, walkers Parents Association’s Third Annual Turkey Trot drew 435 runners and walkers on Nov. 10, including families, faculty, staff and friends. “It took everyone, from über runners to casual walkers and bagel slicers to trash collectors, to pull off such a wonderful event,” Turkey Trot 26


co-organizer Hannah Hannan said after the race. The overall male winner was Costen Irons (30-39) with a time of :16.36. The overall female winner was eighth-grader Katie Concannon who ran the 5K course in :19.56. Other winners were: • Preschool boy winner, Rajan Jhaveri • Preschool girl winner, Stephanie Krieger • Lower School boy winner, Aaron Caveney :23.16 • Lower School girl winner, Meghan Phu :27.27 • Middle School male winner, Trey Barnes :19.53 • Middle School female winner, Anneke Dekker :25.20 • Upper School male winner, Matt Hodgin :18.44 • Upper School female winner, Alice Ward :26.01 • 29 and under male, Deniz Aydemir :30.16 • 29 and under female, Mary D’Amico :28.49 • 30-39 male, Bryan Brander :17.01 • 30-39 female, Sarah Schultz :23.58 • 40-49 male, David Drewry :19.06 • 40-49 female, Carrie Fitzpatrick :23.49 • Masters male, John Middleton :21.11 • Masters female, Mary Hunter :30.49

students answer oral questions on geography, for 12 years. With the school-level win, Goldman now has the opportunity to take a qualifying exam for the state-level bee. Last year’s DA winner, Josh Klein, earned the right to compete in the state-level bee. After competing in classroomlevel rounds in their history classes, 10 DA students advanced to the finals, which played out before the entire Middle School student body: Goldman; seventh-grader Alexander Brandt; fifth-grader Riker Schiff; eighth-grader Evan Ballew; sixth-grader Matthew Holleran-Meyer; sixth-grader William Garrett; seventh-grader Cam Brown; eighth-grader Carter Lange; fifth-grader Madeline Towning; and eighth-grader Ellis Toms. After answering questions on everything from Fort McHenry to Lake Titicaca, the field was winnowed to two: Goldman and Toms. They finished the regular championship round questions tied, prompting history teacher Tim Dahlgren, the bee’s announcer, to quiz the students with sudden-elimination tiebreakers. After a couple of incorrect answers from both students, Goldman correctly answered the Suleymaniye Mosque question for the win.

bit pie-in-the-sky. South recorded I Love You this summer with a studio singer. It turned out well, and Smiley suggested they send it to Gill. “Let’s do it,” said South, who was already taking a leap by making an album she described as “a little bit country, a little bit rock ’n’ roll.” Her four earlier albums were a combination of soft rock as well as Christian and “soft adult contemporary inspirational music.” They sent the I Love You tape to 20-time Grammy-Award-winner Gill, and two weeks went by without any response. South was ready to send the album off to be mastered when Gill called her producer and agreed to sing the duet with her. Because she does not have a recording contract, South must pay all the expenses of producing an album and accompanying music videos. It’s costly, and she had decided this would be her last album. “I told myself, ‘Wow, your first real country song and you get to sing it with Vince Gill!’ ” That sends a good message to her Preschool music and Lower School drama students at DA, she said: “Don’t ever give up on your dreams.”

• Seventh-grader Ethan

• Vince Gill records duet with

and millions of sandwiches

Think you know geography? Try this puzzler: The Suleymaniye Mosque, built to honor the 16th-century Ottoman ruler, can be seen in what city? With his correct answer to this question, seventh-grader Ethan Goldman clinched the Durham Academy Middle School National Geographic Bee title, besting the other 323 Middle Schoolers who competed, from classroom-level events to the school’s championship round. “It feels great to be the winner,” Goldman said after the Jan. 10 competition, taking an Olympic-style bite of his gold medal. By the way, if your answer was “Istanbul,” you are correct. DA has participated in the National Geographic Bee, in which

“It’s too good to be true. Things like that don’t ever happen to me,” Elizabeth South said. The Durham Academy music and drama teacher was shaking her head in disbelief, but she had a smile as wide as the state of Tennessee when she talked about singing a duet with country music legend Vince Gill in a Nashville recording studio Nov. 11. And it wasn’t just any duet they were singing; it was I Love You — written by South and the lead song on her latest album, which is also titled “I Love You.” South wrote the song with her producer, Billy Smiley, who said, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could get Vince Gill to sing on it?” South has already recorded four albums of her original music, but pitching a song to Gill seemed a

Goldman wins DA’s National Geographic Bee


DA teacher Elizabeth South

• It seemed like millions

DA fourth-graders cast a lot of bread upon the waters when they made more than 1,600 sandwiches for the soup kitchen as part of Lower School Unity Day on Sept. 28 — and in return they got a big “thank you” from Faye Morin, volunteer coordinator at Urban Ministries. “I just wanted to say thank you so very much to everyone who was involved in making the millions and millions of sandwiches that you brought to Urban Ministries,” Morin wrote in an email to DA. “OK . . . maybe it wasn’t millions . . . it just seemed that way to us.  We have never before received such a huge donation of sandwiches at one time.  That was absolutely unbelievably generous of all of you and truly much appreciated … I feel so lucky to have such a great partnership with everyone at Durham Academy!”




Ward Nye ’81 to Receive Durham Academy’s Distinguished Alumni Award


urham Academy will honor Ward Nye ’81 as its Distinguished Alumni recipient on April 12 at the Spring Alumni Reception. Nye attended Durham Academy from seventh through 12th grades. He graduated from Duke University with honors in 1984, and in 1987 he received his law degree from Wake Forest University. Nye is president, chief executive officer and a board member of Martin Marietta Materials, Inc., the nation’s second-largest producer of construction aggregates. Prior to joining Martin Marietta in 2006, Nye spent 13 years with London-based Hanson PLC’s North American aggregates, hot mix asphalt, ready mixed concrete, cement and construction group headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Hanson is one of the world’s largest suppliers of heavy building materials. At Hanson, Nye held a series of increasingly responsible positions, including executive vice president. Nye has been a gubernatorial appointee and is currently vice chair on the North Carolina Mining Commission, and he also serves on the executive committee of the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association. He has been a member of the board of directors of the American Road Transportation Builders Association and the National Association of Chief Executive Officers. He has served numerous other state, community and charitable organizations, including the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Duke University Alumni Association Board of Directors, Wells Fargo/Wachovia’s Central Regional Advisory Board and Rex Healthcare, Inc.’s Board of Trustees. Nye was recognized by Aggregates Manager magazine in 2006 as its AggMan of the Year. Nye will speak at an Upper School assembly on April 12 and will be honored that evening at the alumni reception. For more information on the Distinguished Alumni event, please visit

SPRING ALUMNI RECEPTION Friday, April 12, 6 p.m. Upper School Learning Commons

distinguished alumni ABOVE: Ward Nye ’81 is president and chief executive officer of Martin Marietta Materials, Inc.

Join us as we recognize

Distinguished Alumni Award winner Ward Nye.

Email Tim McKenna,

associate director of alumni

affairs, at for more information.





Calendar ALUMNI

CALENDAR DA Benefit Auction at The Cotton Room

March 7 • 6:30 p.m.

Alumni Networking Event in Charlotte

April 2 • 5:30 p.m.

Alumni Board Meeting at Durham Academy

April 5 • 6 p.m.

Alumni Networking Event in Atlanta, GA

April 12 • 6 p.m.

Spring Alumni Reception honoring Ward Nye ’81

April 23 • 7 p.m.

Alumni Networking Event in Washington, DC

Thursday, May 2, 2013 – 1 p.m. • Croasdaile Country Club

April 25 • 6:30 p.m.

Alumni Networking Event in New York City

he fun begins with a 1 p.m. shotgun start at beautiful Croasdaile Country Club. Groups of four will compete in a Captain’s Choice format. Several exciting contests will run throughout the day, including men’s and women’s longest drive and closest to the pin. Food and drinks are included in the entrance fee. Please contact Chris Mark at to register or if you have any questions.

May 2 • 1 p.m.

DA Golf Tournament

Tim McKenna

March 1 • 7 p.m.

ABOVE: Alumni playing in the 2012 DA golf tournament included (from left) Danny Lloyd ’71, Stephen Barringer ’81, Will Larson ’02, Charlie Wilson ’89, Torsie Judkins ’91, David Beischer ’85 and Ben Mark ’02.



SAV E T HE DAT E • 20 1 3 FALL ALUMNI W EEK END Friday, Oct. 4, 2013

Homecoming Activities (Alumni Social and Athletic Events)

Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013

Reunion Parties for Classes ending in ’3s and ’8s.

Visit for updates on venues and additional alumni information


It’ll be “take me out to the ballgame” when DA hosts a Washington-area alumni networking event April 23 at the Nationals-Cardinals game.

• DA on Flickr: • DA on Facebook: • DA Alumni on Facebook: • DA on Twitter:

• DA on YouTube:



Chris Scott

• DA Alumni on Twitter:

Walters D A



Opposites Attract — it was love at first sight Girl who runs everywhere works with animal kingdom’s Sultan of Slow

examine it or a 16-pound snapping turtle somehow manages to escape over a two-foot-high wall and go marching down the hallway to freedom without you noticing. There’s nothing in this world to make you feel small like a 100-year-old box turtle giving you that slow, baleful


t’s funny how fates change. When I was at Durham Academy, I was always moving – in fact, I was known as “the little blonde girl who runs everywhere.” Yet years later, as a student at N.C. State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, I find myself working with the animal kingdom’s Sultan of Slow, i.e. the turtle. People always say that opposites attract, and I can’t deny that when I first joined the Turtle Rescue Team, it was love at first sight. TRT is a studentrun group at the vet school that provides medical care and rehabilitation to injured wild turtles with the express purpose of returning them to their original homes in the wild.

The most common injuries we see are associated with being hit by cars, but we also see a fair few turtles chewed by dogs, attacked by lawn mowers, undernourished, etc. It never ceases to amaze me what these animals can go through and what injuries they can heal on their own. That helps put things in perspective when a yellowbellied slider decides that your finger is a particularly tasty treat, a box turtle closes up and holds its breath for an hour so you can't possibly

look of disapproval when you try to give it food, as if to say, “Nice try, whippersnapper, I’ll eat when I want to.” The amount of personality (turtle-ality?) contained within those gorgeous shells is mindboggling.

Through my connections with the Turtle Rescue Team, I've also managed to do some interesting work with sea turtles, mostly associated with the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital on Topsail Island (the hospital that our DA third-graders support with their sea turtle fundraisers). Among other things, I’ve participated in pre-release veterinary examinations on Topsail, a skull trauma case that came to the veterinary school and laparoscopies associated with research on reproductive maturity. I also spent a stint tagging and releasing sea turtles on an old shrimping boat off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia. Sound like fun? You’re right! Working with turtles requires a totally different approach than we use with our fuzzier friends. Honestly, though, for a high-speed person like me, the change of pace is perfect. Even on life’s busy highway, there’s always time to stop and help the turtles cross the road. — Bethany Walters TOP LEFT: Bethany Walters says turtles have a lot of personality. TOP RIGHT: Assisting with a pre-release examination at Topsail’s Sea Turtle Hospital.







Propensity for math and food fuels restaurant entrepreneur J ason Sholtz, co-owner of Alivia’s Durham Bistro in downtown Durham, is obviously a fan of food. But what many people do not know about Sholtz is that he also has great interest in math. Sholtz, 31, lights up when he talks about both. On food: “It’s in my blood,” he said. Sholtz’s mother, Beth Sholtz, was a home economics teacher. “I’m always watching the Food Network – unless there’s a game on.” On math: “I think about cost of goods, projections, efficiencies, how a percentage here and there could make a big difference.” Alivia’s opened in 2007 and has evolved from a coffeehouse concept to a downtown dining mainstay. For 2013, Alivia’s is gearing up for an expansion for an event space behind the restaurant, in the building that formerly housed Anotherthyme restaurant. Sholtz has combined his interest in food and math in Alivia’s. When Alivia’s first opened, the restaurant served coffee from the counter in a coffeehouse-like, retro atmosphere, with its mint-green paint and Andy Warhol-style posters of Hunter S. Thompson and other pop culture icons adorning the walls. Back then, customers would settle in for entire afternoons in its wide booths, working away on their laptops. But Sholtz said he quickly figured out that did not work. Coffee was just not profitable, he said. So the restaurant changed gears, did away with the counter service and switched to alcohol — and sales went up substantially. The restaurant now rakes in half in food and half in alcohol sales, and has continued to make improvements to attract and retain customers, such as band nights and a new enclosure constructed in winter 2011 to expand seating during cold weather. The restaurant now has more family dining for a young crowd kind of atmosphere. “We don’t price anybody out of the market. Everybody is 30


welcome,” he said. Sandwiches and burgers start at $8, and entrees start at $15. “You come here — it’s warm and inviting.” With the new expansion into the former Anotherthyme space, Sholtz and his business partner, Fergus Bradley, want to continue to attract downtown young professionals. In 2009, when Anotherthyme, which had been open nearly three decades, closed suddenly, Sholtz and Bradley snapped up the building. Now, the partners have plans to transform it into a club space, along with a kitchen for Liv’s, Alivia’s new food truck, and a 1,500-square-foot rooftop space. The 3,400-square-foot building would have a relaxing lounge atmosphere early in the evening, Sholtz said, and at 10 p.m. it would transform into a dance club. “Something you’d have in a bigger city,” he said. “It allows us to do more with nightlife for downtown young professionals. … I want something ‘older,’ a place where I can go for entertainment without being elbowed.” Alivia’s and the Anotherthyme space could have a joint kitchen and be able to host 200-person events, he said. Demolition has begun, and Sholtz said that although plans could still change, he hopes to complete the renovation in the next year. “We’ve already become a destination. It’s about keeping people on this block,” he said. Sholtz and Bradley also jointly own James Joyce, an Irishstyle pub, on the same Main Street strip in the Brightleaf Square area. It was Sholtz’s interest in math that led him to these business ventures, and he said that interest came from when he was a student at Durham Academy. continued on the next page

Anderson D A



At the center of things as press secretary for U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan W personal office opened up, I took

the transition, the House passed

Wisconsin and Washington in coach,

with the aspiration of solving our

on the title of “Staff Assistant” and

the Path to Prosperity — otherwise

the campaign chartered a plane;

nation's most pressing international

adopted responsibility for front desk

known as the Fiscal Year 2012 Bud-

rather than relying on the assistance

disputes, I was blissfully unaware

management, answering the phones

get Resolution — and we watched in

of a single staff member, he was soon

that thousands — if not tens of

and coordinating available meeting

awe as Paul’s profile rose from bud-

surrounded by an entourage of aides

thousands — of recent college


get wonk, avid hunter and workout

and Secret Service.

hen I moved to D.C. in 2009

graduates had made similar plans.

After the 2010 midterm

enthusiast to charges ranging from

After 88 grueling days

election, Rep. Paul Ryan was named

“zombie-eyed granny-starver” (credit: crisscrossing the country, the votes

experience, as a consolation prize,

chairman of the House Budget

Esquire magazine) to TIME’s Person

were tallied and the idea of Vice

I accepted an opportunity with

Committee, and his outspoken

of the Year Runner-Up.

President Ryan had vanished. As

Sen. Richard Burr’s office to lead

support for fiscal balance piqued my

On Aug. 11, 2012, after

quickly as Paul had been whisked

North Carolinians on tours of the

interest. Leveraging my degree from

months of speculation, Gov. Mitt

away to run on the national ticket,

Capitol. I brushed up on history and

the University of Wisconsin as a tie

Romney announced that he had

he was as immediately returned to

Lacking the necessary

interesting facts — did you know that to the congressman, I got my résumé selected Paul to be his running mate. Congress. Rather than preparing The onslaught of media attention

the Statue of Liberty could stand

in front of his chief of staff and used

upright inside the Rotunda? — and

my skills of persuasion (and a shared was immediate, the office fell under

for a transition to the Romney Administration, Paul instead finds

chaperoned constituents around the love for the Badgers) to land a job in

constant scrutiny, and Paul’s day-to- himself at the fiscal cliff negotiating

Capitol grounds.

day was altered immensely. While

table — where his staff has, in turn,

he had once commuted between

remained as well. — Smythe Anderson

his office.

When a position in Sen. Burr’s


Within eight weeks of making

Joyce. Soon after, Bradley made him an offer to become a partner. In 2007, he and Bradley jointly opened Alivia’s, named after one of Sholtz’s sisters. Sholtz has three younger sisters — Sholtz, a 1999 DA graduate, said it was during his Alivia ’00, Eliza ’06 and Hannah ’11 — who all attended Durham sophomore year that teachers like Dennis Cullen, chair of the Academy. math department, sparked his enthusiasm for the subject. “It was the right place, right time,” “I was drawn to it,” Sholtz said. On food: “It’s in my blood,” he said. Sholtz said. “I’ve always wanted to be Cullen, he recalled, gave him enough Sholtz’s mother, Beth Sholtz, was a home my own boss.” time to think through the math economics teacher. “I’m always watching the Whatever Sholtz’s future plans are problems on his own. Food Network — unless there’s a game on.” for Alivia’s, he will always have at least “Before, everything was so timeone loyal fan. sensitive,” Sholtz said. “But he gave On math: “I think about cost of goods, “I love it. It’s delicious food. I me the time. Once I got that, it really projections, efficiencies, how a percentage think they’ve done a great job,” said clicked.” here and there could make a big difference.” Beth Sholtz, Jason’s mother. Sholtz eventually became Beth Sholtz can attest to her son’s interested in statistics and algebra, and went on to study business at Wofford College in South Carolina. love of food from a young age. “His buddies would come in at all hours and start in the kitchen. They were all fellows from DA,” After graduating, he worked in Duke University’s sports she said. “They were always in the kitchen.” — Monica Chen information department and took on a bartending gig at James continued from previous page






at Alivia’s was a huge hit Alumni from all four decades were in attendance at Alivia’s Bistro in Durham for the annual DA Alumni Night on Nov. 21. Food, drinks and reminiscing were all a part of the evening festivities. More than 130 people attended the event, and it was a great way to kick off the holiday weekend. “What a fun-filled evening. It was great to see so many of my former classmates in attendance. I hope that more people attend next year and the event continues to grow,” said Alivia Sholtz ’00. TOP TO BOTTOM: Kelly Smoke ’00, Max Wilhelm-Hilkey ’99 and Chrissie Akwari Wilhelm-Hilkey ’00 • Jon Marin ’99 and Fay Marin • Hannah Sholtz ’11, Sarah Kearney ’11, Katherine Koller ’11, Mary Elizabeth Russell ’11 and Paige Reeves ’11 • Will Anlyan ’01, Ben Rudnick ’02 and Simon Curtis ’02. P H O T O S



M c K E N N A

SAVE THE DATE 2013 Fall Alumni Weekend • Oct. 4 and 5 FRIDAY, OCT. 4, 2013

Homecoming Ac tivities Alumni S0cial and Athle tic Events SATURDAY, OCT. 5, 2013

R eunion Pa r t ie s f or Cl asses ending in ’3s and ’8s Visit for more information







he Evergreen Campaign is quickly coming to an end, and DA Alumni want to help finish the campaign with a bang. The goal for this alumni campaign is to raise $100,000 by the end of April, so that we can “name” the new meeting room in the gym. Inside this meeting room will be alumni memorabilia, plaques and a donor wall honoring those who have given at a certain level to this endeavor. The room will serve as a meeting and event space for alumni, as well as current students, faculty and parents. Alumni gifts to this campaign will ensure that future generations of Durham Academy students will have facilities and resources on par with other independent schools.

spring alumni networking events in

Charlotte, Atlanta, Washington, New York City This spring, Durham Academy’s alumni office will host regional networking events in Charlotte, Atlanta, Washington and New York City. This is a great opportunity to catch up with old friends, make new ones and hear about all the exciting new happenings at DA. These events are free; watch for information in the coming weeks.

Charlotte, March 7, 6:30 p.m. • Atlanta, April 5, 6 p.m. Washington, April 23, 7 p.m. • NYC, April 25, 6:30 p.m. For more information, please contact Associate Director of Alumni Affairs Tim McKenna at or 919-287-1717

“Reaching the $100,000 goal is important to me because I would like to see DA continue to be one of the best independent schools in the country,” said Torsie Judkins ’91. “Reaching our goal means the Upper School facilities are top-notch and the athletic program gets a great boost. In my years as an athlete and a coach at DA, we were behind the times with our athletic facilities. Students have always gotten a top notch education at DA and now they deserve top notch athletic facilities as well.” All gift amounts are vital, but donors who individually or as part of a collective effort make a gift of $1,000 or more will be listed on an alumni honor wall in the meeting room. Pledges are payable over five years. For more information on the campaign, please visit


































“It was great to see so many people at the Friday night social. I hope that we can build on the successes from the weekend and make next year’s Fall Alumni Weekend even better.” — GARRETT PUTMAN ’94



































Classes ending in ’2s and ’7s gathered on Saturday night, Oct. 13, at Tobacco Road Café to exchange stories, recall memories, enjoy delicious food and share a drink or two. More than 125 people attended the reunion party, coming from as far away as Grand Cayman, California and Texas to be a part of this fun-filled evening. To see additional pictures, please visit P H O T O S












Jane Loftin and Chris Sizemore ’01 June 4, 2011 • Raleigh, NC


Andy Beiderman and Rheanna Platt ’95 October 1, 2011 • Long Beach Island, NJ

Amanda Voehl and Steven Suggs ’03 April 21, 2012 • Fort Pierce, FL

John Taylor and Kate McAllister ’92 May 4, 2012 • Chapel Hill, NC

Jerome Simmons and JacQuetta Foushee ’03 June 9, 2012 • Raleigh, NC


Patrick Ewald and Corey Mansfield ’02 June 16, 2012 • Lake Gaston, VA

Nick Bodnar and Jenny Denton ’08 June 23, 2012 • Spring Creek, NC

Stefan Rozycki and Julianna Tabor ’02 July 28, 2012 • Chapel Hill, NC

Nick Anagnostis and Marian Draffin ’99 September 1, 2012 • Durham, NC

Andrew Brasseaux and Christine Suggs ’05 September 2, 2012 • Ocean Isle Beach, NC


Carson Taylor and Hilary Witzleben ’97 September 8, 2012 • Telluride, CO

Roberto Gonzalez and Elizabeth Graham ’02 September 15, 2012 • Washington, DC

Fay Cathles-Hagen and Jon Marin ’99 September 15, 2012 • Rougemont, NC

Dara O'Hannaidh and Orla Buckley ’01 October 13, 2012 • Kingscourt, County Cavan, Ireland













1. Emily Moore-Pleasant ’02, Caroline Paul ’04, Catherine Clark Everson ’02, Corey Mansfield Ewald ’02, Erika Ham, Tiffany Ward and Stephanie Callaway ’02 2. Hilary Witzleben Taylor ’97 and Carson Taylor 3. Jon Marin ’99 and Fay Marin 4. Elizabeth Graham Gonzalez ’02 and Roberto Gonzalez 5. Nick Anagnostis and Marian Draffin Anagnostis ’99 6. Kristin O’Neil ’03, Elizabeth Graham Gonzalez ’02 and Sarah Graham Motsinger ’00 7. Dara O’Hannaidh and Orla Buckley O’Hannaidh ’01 8. Stefan Rozycki and Julianna Tabor Rozycki ’02 9. JacQuetta Foushee ’03 and Jerome Simmons 10. Rheanna Platt ’95 and Andy Beiderman 11. Christine Suggs Brasseaux ’05 and Andrew Brasseaux 12. John Taylor and Kate McAllister Taylor ’92 13. Jenny Denton Bodnar ’04 and Nick Bodnar 14. Jane Sizemore and Chris Sizemore ’01 15. Amanda Voehl and Steven Suggs ’03 DURHAM ACADEMY RECORD | WINTER 2013 | WWW.DA.ORG






From Durham Academy to Switzerland

ABOVE: Evan Fjeld goes up for a one-handed slam in Switzerland. RIGHT: Versatility was the name of the game for Fjeld at the University of Vermont.


’m a proud Durham Academy alumnus. I wouldn’t have always described my feeling toward DA as such, but, as my minor problems with the place recede in my memory, the pride is beginning to come through. It wouldn’t be possible to spend 14 years there, as I did, without becoming a little bit exasperated with the place. Since graduating in 2007, I’ve gone on a wild ride with its fair share of highs and lows. I decided to take what basketball game I had to Burlington, Vt. I got off to a rough start. My first two years were frustrating 38


to say the least, but in my junior year I became a starter and integral part of a championship team. That was a tumultuous year. I took my only trip to the NCAA tournament, losing my mother to cancer along the way. In my senior year, we exceeded expectations, finishing first in the league. I gained a reputation for growing an epic mustache during “Movember.” I was named America East Academic Player of the Year, Fan’s Choice Player of the Year and Vermont Male Athlete of the Year. In the end, I loved it. I had no idea what I was doing when I picked a college, but somehow I picked the perfect place for me. After graduating in 2011, I thought I’d forgo a real job to play basketball for a while. Sounds pretty glamorous, right? Well it’s not what I thought it would be when I was going to Lower School Night at the CavDome or playing for Mr. Mac, but it has been quite an adventure. I hoped to find a place to play in Europe, but after the NBA lockout, I decided to enter the NBA Developmental League Draft instead. I was picked in the third round by the Tulsa 66ers, the Oklahoma City Thunder's affiliate. I joined the likes of Jerome Dyson, former UConn star; Curtis Sumpter, former Villanova star; and Ryan Reid, the Thunder’s 2010 second-round pick. I had a rough couple of weeks. While I had my moments, too, I was cut on the last day. Then the Maine Red Claws, the affiliate of the Celtics, 76ers and Bobcats, picked me up. Without being given much of a chance, I was again cut a few weeks later after appearing in just three games. I wasn’t unhappy about it because I didn’t want to play in Oklahoma or Maine. I wanted to see the world. I signed with the Floriana Basketball Club in the little Mediterranean island country of Malta, an hour boat ride south of Sicily. The level of basketball wasn’t the NBA — only one nonMaltese player was allowed per team — but I was living 20 feet from the Mediterranean, and they were paying me to play basketball. Life was good. I was the only real professional on my team. My teammates all had day jobs, so we only practiced three

continued on the next page








BABIES 1. Claire, daughter of Kathleen Glaser Belknap ’02 2. Elena, daughter of Ben Berchuck ’00 5



3. Emma and Jamison, children of Anna Hall Quarles ’98 and Jeb Quarles ’98 4. Julia, daughter of fourth-grade teacher Anna Karol 5. Sophia, daughter of Jamie France ’88 6. Paul, son of Emily Ballard Williams ’00 7. Lucy, daughter of Molly Kane Frommer ’01

basketball was now a full-time job. We practiced twice a day. I had neither the time nor the energy to explore Switzerland, as times a week at 9 p.m. I stormed out of the gates with a 44-point I would have liked. Monthey made a change about six weeks outing. In the end, I averaged 35 points and 18 rebounds a game. into my contract and sent me home early, essentially ending my basketball career. My team came in second in the league — its best-ever finish. Again, I wasn’t heartbroken. Being a professional athlete This professional basketball thing was starting to look up. sounds great, but what’s lost in the story are the long, lonely days After the season, I took the money I had made and traveled trying desperately to find something to do. Not to mention the around Europe for a month to Palermo, Rome, Innsbruck, day-to-day lifestyle. Not knowing when Munich, Amsterdam, Brussels and you could be tossed to the curb is liberating Helsinki. It was the study abroad Now, as I begin the search for that in one sense and terrifying in another. program I never had the time to do in real job I had been putting off to play Now, as I begin the search for that real college — without the studying. job I had been putting off to play basketball I spent the summer in Vermont basketball instead, I’m stuck trying to instead, I’m stuck trying to explain that getting ready for year two. In October, explain that no, I don’t have any work no, I don’t have any work experience, but I signed with a team in Monthey, experience, but the experiences I’ve had the experiences I’ve had over the last few Switzerland. Monthey is a charming years could never be replicated. It was an little town, which is a nice way to say a over the last few years could never unforgettable adventure, one that started beautiful place with nothing going on be replicated. It was an unforgettable in a gym that’s no longer standing on for a 24-year-old. It was nestled in the adventure, one that started in a gym Ridge Road. And for that, I will be Alps, and I lived an hour-and-a-half forever grateful. — Evan Fjeld from Geneva. My team was good, but that’s no longer standing on Ridge Road. EVAN FJELD ’07,

continued from previous page







Photo courtesy of Marion Penning‚


ABOVE: Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek with Marion Penning

he category: Durham Academy Alumni. The answer: She ran hurdles and danced while a DA student, went on to become a teacher in Baltimore and has a

quiz show-quality mind for history and trivia. The question: Who is DA alumna Marion Penning ’01? Penning will tell you that she's always been “a mess of nerves” before any big event, from Upper School dance recitals in Kenan Auditorium years ago, to the first day of school each year as the now-Roland Park Country School teacher looks out on a classroom filled with new faces. But those experiences at DA and, now, as a Roland Park Country history teacher and varsity crew coach prepared her well for the nationally televised stage that she graced in

November 2012 as a contestant in the Jeopardy! Teachers Tournament. “I knew that once the show started, I would calm down and be able to focus,” Penning said. And focus she did, correctly responding to her quarterfinal Final Jeopardy puzzler — “In 2012 the National Postal Museum marked the 75th and 100th anniversaries of these two disasters with an exhibit called ‘Fire & Ice’ ” — with “the Titanic and the Hindenburg.” She bested two other teachers to win $10,000 and a berth in the tournament semifinals. A longtime Jeopardy! fan, Penning had completed online contestant quizzes for a couple of years in hopes of trying her hand at a Daily Double, and she — and a legion of family members — was delighted when she received a callback in April 2012. “I think my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles were even more excited than I was,” she joked after the show aired. One of the most memorable parts of Penning's Jeopardy! experience was the opportunity to get to know the behind-thescenes folks who make the quiz show happen. "The contestant ‘wranglers’ who got us ready for the show were funny, kind and able to make sure that each of us was ready in our own way,” she said. “Also, Johnny Gilbert [the announcer] always sounds like he is introducing Alex Trebek, even when he is just chatting with the audience before the show.” — Melody Guyton Butts, digital communications specialist

in memoriam • Betty Vaughan died unexpectedly

• Douglas W. “Chip” MacKelcan

• Charles Bert “Charlie” Piekaar

• Pelham Wilder, Jr. died Oct.

June 25, 2012, in Chapel Hill.

Jr. died July 30, 2012, in Sanibel,

died Sept. 25, 2012, in Durham. He

6, 2012, in Durham. He taught

She taught first grade at Durham

Fla., after a courageous struggle with

was employed by Durham Academy

at Duke University for 50 years,

Academy for 28 years, coming to DA

multiple system atrophy.

for 35 years, and for many of those

retiring in 2000 as the University

in 1964 when it was still located on

He had a 30-year career as an

years he served as maintenance

Distinguished Service Professor. He

Duke Street and retiring in 1993. She

independent school headmaster,

foreman for the Academy Road

served 16 years as a member of the

was much loved by her students and

including serving as Durham

Campus. He is survived by his wife,

Durham Academy Board of Trustees,

their parents. She is survived by her

Academy headmaster from 1996

Joyce Piekaar; son, Michael Piekaar;

including two terms as chairman of

son, Stephen Owens Vaughan ’79 and to 1998. He is survived by his wife,

and daughter, Misty Piekaar ’01, all

the board. He is survived by his three

his wife Kathe Scherr Vaughan, and

Debbie MacKelcan of Sanibel, and

of Durham.

children: Ann Wilder of Durham;

her grandchildren, William Owens

sons, Douglas Walker MacKelcan,

Pelham Wilder, III ’69 and his wife

“Kip” Vaughan ’09 and Merriwether

III (Catherine) and Matthew Buckley

Susan of Atlanta, Ga; and Sterly

Caroline Vaughan, all of Chapel Hill.

MacKelcan ’97.

Lebey Wilder ’79 of Durham.




Durham Academy kindergarten classes celebrated the conclusion of their five-week study of Mexico on Dec. 14. They feasted at a Mexican fiesta lunch served by parent volunteers, and then got down to the business of breaking a treat-filled piñata in each of the four classrooms. It turns out that a stick-wielding, blindfolded kindergartener is no match for a swinging piñata. Off went the blindfold, out came the baseball bat. Marcus Vermeulen gave it his best whack, but it took teachers Deb Shadduck and Leigh Ballou to finally crack open the tenacious pink piñata! P H O T O




D U R H A M A C A D E M Y 3601 RIDGE ROAD DURHAM, NC 27705-5599



A large crowd of students, faculty, parents, former parents, alumni and friends were ready to tour the new Kirby Gym after Headmaster Ed Costello (left) cut the ribbon with help from Dave Pottenger, Drayton Virkler, Laura Horton Virkler ’91, Henry Virkler ’26, Shelayne Sutton, Frank Sutton, Sara Pottenger, David Beischer ’85, Charlie Wilson ’89 (partially visible in photo), Steve Engebretsen and Jerry Benson. P H O T O




The Record (Winter 2013)  

The Record is Durham Academy’s biannual magazine. It was first published in 1974. In its current form, The Record features articles written...