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EBOLA FIGHTER Dr. Billy Fischer ’94 takes a break from his work in Guéckédou, Guinea

Nathan Clendenin



n recent months I have sat in a dozen conference rooms, classrooms and restaurants — listening to people describe the Durham Academy experience and muse about how we might improve it. In all those strategic planning sessions, I’ve been inspired to hear people move quickly beyond their daily conveniences and frustrations (from parking lots to grading policies, lunch offerings to dress code enforcement) — pushing for deeper truths and more distant horizons. How can we move our students toward more moral, happy and productive lives? What is the essence of the Durham Academy experience? Can we identify the DNA of DA? And how do we express that DNA most fully? What could this school become for its students and its community? Among the most poignant of those sessions were with DA alumni. In San Francisco I heard about the life-changing moral magnetism of a few special teachers and coaches. In New York I heard about life-broadening epiphanies that unfolded during Senior Challenge and community service outings. In Boston I heard about life-deepening conversations during tutorial periods and advisory meetings. Here in Durham I heard about the lively mix of families that makes our campus such a welcoming, purposeful, vigorous place. The voices of our alumni harmonize nicely with the opinions expressed by more than 1,400 respondents (students, teachers, parents and more) to our online strategic planning questionnaire. Among the items identified in that September survey as most critically important for DA’s future: • Faculty with passion, energy and a love of teaching • Faculty with a moral force of character • Inclusiveness and the welcoming nature of our community On Page 6 you can read more about our

strategic planning process and what it has revealed so far. On Page 2 you can read more about the subject of this issue’s cover story, Dr. Billy Fischer ’94. Billy and I first met when I started teaching at DA in 1992. He was 16. I looked 16. Our paths and personalities differed greatly, but we both owe a debt to Durham Academy for helping us find our better selves and hear the vocations that continue to call us today. So many DA students and teachers have found their paths on our campus. Here’s how Billy describes the role of a welcoming community in his own pathfinding: “I was in public school until sixth grade and was in an academically gifted class and I just didn’t get it. I didn’t see how it all fit together — how school led to something more meaningful — how school led to a life of service. I’d grown up in China and that was really my first taste of poverty and it was such a brutal reality that I witnessed, but I didn’t know how to translate that emotional experience into something meaningful. … I remember being taken to DA in seventh grade and I was just walking on campus with my mom and meeting Mr. Mac and I was so struck by the fact that he actually came out of his classroom, stopped me as we were walking and introduced himself and he shook my hand and it was the first time that someone had actually kind of recognized me. Not that he knew me, but he said hey, you’re someone new in the community and I want to introduce myself. And suddenly I now felt a sense of responsibility because I was part of a community.” As Billy discovered and as our survey respondents told us, this community is full of life-changing faculty members — genuine, curious, passionate, striving and generous teacher/learners who nurture, inspire, engage and challenge students as they model the path to moral, happy, productive lives. Billy goes on to name his life-changer: “[Tenth-grade physics teacher Lou Parry] was the one who turned on the light bulb and made me realize that everything I was doing right now had a direct ability to translate into a meaningful outcome in the world. It was simple, Newtonian physics, just trying to figure out the trajectory of a ball, the trajectory of

a puck, understanding how things move in space or moved in relation to other things. That changed my life. And he can actually tell you he noticed the change in me. Based on his class I changed where I sat in other classes, I changed what my priorities in life were, and it was such a big thing, because that’s when I started to understand how to contribute to this disparity in the world that’s related to poverty. And so my whole professional career has been directed toward poverty-oriented diseases. He was really a catalyst that united this emotional experience I had as a young child to my responsibility as an adult member of a community of this world. And I’ve been chasing that responsibility ever since.” I recently saw a Vietnamese proverb that keeps echoing in my mind as we write our strategic plan: “When you eat a fruit, think of the person who planted the tree.” The fruits of Durham Academy (whether Billy Fischer and his fellow alumni or the daily experiences of our current students) are abundantly evident on and beyond our campus. But who planted the “trees” of our school? Some might point to the Hill or Kenan families, to leaders like Bess Pickard Boone, Rob Hershey, Don North, Ed Costello, or to the superstar teachers who have changed the trajectories of thousands of lives. But in fact DA’s tallest trees have been planted in a series of strategic plans — each of them starting with simple questions (who are we? who do we want to become?) and then propelling the school to higher levels of sophistication and excellence. Here we are again — looking closely at ourselves and finding a path to the selves we want to be. I hope you enjoy this issue of the DA Record — so full of fruit and shade provided by the visionary planners of our past. With luck, we’ll be planting some new trees in the coming months.

Michael Ulku-Steiner, Head of School @ MrUlkuSteiner


Max Englund/UNC Health Care


2 DURHAM ACADEMY Head of School | Michael Ulku-Steiner Chair, Board of Trustees | Anne Lloyd ’82 President, Alumni Board | Seth Jernigan ’96 THE RECORD Editor | Kathy McPherson


Leslie King | Director of Communications

Kathy McPherson | Associate Director of Communications

Melody Butts | Assistant Director of Communications

Send news and story ideas to DEVELOPMENT AND ALUMNI AFFAIRS Leslie Holdsworth | Director of Development

Tim McKenna | Associate Director of Alumni Affairs

DURHAM ACADEMY MISSION STATEMENT The purpose of Durham Academy is to provide each student an education that will enable him or her to 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 primary work of the school. The acquisition of knowledge; the development of skills, critical judgment and intellectual curiosity; and increased understanding are the goals of the school’s academic program.

Features 2 10 34

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Ebola Fighter Senior Challenge Brazil Brothers

Courtesy Courtesy David David Fowler Fowler and and Grant Grant Fowler Fowler

Melody Guyton Butts


Courtesy Billy Fischer

Designer | Linda Noble

In Every Issue 25 26 32 37 42 43 44

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From the Green Alumni News Fall Alumni Weekend Alumni Calendar/Events Weddings Babies In Memoriam


FRONT COVER: Billy Fischer ’94, right, spent 10 days in Guéckédou, Guinea, in June 2014 treating Ebola patients. He returned to West Africa in December, part of a team working on a clinical trial testing whether antibodies in the blood of Ebola survivors can be used to help fight the disease. P h o t o c o u r t e s y B i l l y F i s c h e r DURHAM ACADEMY RECORD | WINTER 2015 | WWW.DA.ORG


Dr. Billy Fischer ’94 on the front lines of the world's largest and deadliest Ebola epidemic r. Billy Fischer ’94 is the first one to admit he’s not a born multi-tasker. He makes that confession as he tries to simultaneously navigate, answer his children’s questions and talk on the phone while driving from Chapel Hill to Baltimore one week before Thanksgiving. Fischer and his family piled in the car together to spend a weekend in the city where he met his wife, Leah; where their two sons William, 4, and Graham, 2, were born; and where he has been invited to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins Hospital, to take part in the revered medical tradition of Grand Rounds. A rapt audience of physicians and medical students is set to hear Fischer share his experience in the struggle to contain the world’s largest and deadliest outbreak of the Ebola virus. Invitations like these have become the norm since Fischer, associate director of pulmonary disease and critical care research at UNC Chapel Hill, traveled to the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak in June 2014. From Guéckédou, Guinea, Fischer shared heart-wrenching online dispatches describing the brutal reality of bearing witness to and battling a virus that continues to cross borders and leapfrog continents, claiming more than 8,459 lives to date. He’ll tell you he got into Ebola by accident. But Fischer’s work — on the front lines in West Africa and in developing Ebola critical care and transmission prevention protocols to help health care workers and patients around the world — is anything but accidental. It’s the result of a personal journey that started at Durham Academy. That’s where Fischer says a light bulb went off that changed everything — pointing him toward a purposeful life of service, helping him translate what he learned into real-world impact, and helping to create a new reality of survival around an international epidemic with no vaccine and no cure. Fischer says it all started with Upper School science teacher Lou Parry. “He made me feel like I was part of the community, like I had a responsibility to be part of the community. He totally invested in me, and I’ve never forgotten it. And I’ve tried to replicate that investment in others when I’m teaching on the wards or when I’m in the hospital. I think


about him daily. Absolutely think about him daily.” Fischer credits Parry’s sophomore Newtonian physics class with connecting the dots in his life in a way that revealed how school could lead to a life of service. Fischer spent part of his childhood in China — an experience he says provided an eye-opening, emotional introduction to the stark realities of poverty and economically driven disparities in health care. He came to DA in seventh grade, and although he did well academically, he describes himself as “a little bit lost” during his teenage years. Parry was the catalyst for helping Fischer realize his high school physics class could be the launching pad for a life in medicine and a career that could translate his childhood experiences into meaningful outcomes in the world. “That changed my life. And he can actually tell you he noticed the change in me. Based on his class, I changed where I sat in other classes,


I changed my priorities in life, and it was such a big thing, because that’s when I started to understand how to contribute to this disparity in the world that’s related to poverty. My whole professional career has been directed toward poverty-oriented diseases.” In addition to a sense of purpose, Parry’s class also inspired Fischer to develop his inexhaustible drive. Drive is a quality Fischer has in spades. “I’ve always tried to compensate for what I don’t know by working harder than everyone else,” he says. It propelled him through DA, Bates College, the UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine and residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital. No story during Fischer’s time at DA better illustrates that drive, or why he and Parry might be soul mates than a banana-eating contest during the school’s first-ever Spirit Week. It’s really more fun if we let Lou and Billy tell it: Lou Parry: The Student Council decided to have a banana-eating contest at the top of Courtesy Billy Fischer



“What I’m doing is exciting. I’m totally motivated by the patient population to be better. I’m motivated by this guilt, this responsibility I carry around with me to be better, to be smarter, to do more, to do it faster.”

the old gym. The entire student body would be there. The council asked Billy if he would participate. He jumped at the chance, because, well, Billy is Billy. Billy Fischer: My nickname was Fat Boy in high school. It was because I ate a lot and I never put on any weight. So one day I got this challenge to be in a banana-eating contest, which I thought was a little bit unusual, but Lou and I would always challenge each other with everything, so I thought, OK, sure, absolutely. Parry: The contest was focused on who could eat the most bananas in a given time span. I think it was about three minutes. There were three tables lined up in the gym loft.

Each table had several dozen bananas and one contestant. There was another person with each contestant to help them because the competitors were going to be blindfolded while they tried to mash as many bananas down their throats as possible in the three minutes. Fischer: And I was like, well, why would they blindfold me? But I wasn’t putting the pieces together. I was like fine, whatever. I was so focused on beating Mr. Parry in this eating contest. Parry: Hundreds of students stood wildly cheering in front of the tables getting us pumped up. But what Billy didn’t know was that as soon as we were blindfolded, the blindfolds came off

the other student and me. Billy was yelling out things to me and the other student like, “You’re dead bananas!” and “I am the Master of the Universe!” It was all quite hilarious, considering everyone was watching Billy scream out these mantras and none of us were blindfolded and none of us were going to be eating any bananas! Fischer: And then, it began, and I had a feeder — Ward Horton [’94] and Ben Swain [’94]. Ward was technically not a feeder, but he joined in. And I was eating bananas at a rapid pace, and, I mean, I could not be fast enough. I was really just totally destined to beat Mr. Parry — that’s all I could think about. continued on page 4





Courtesy Billy Fischer

sent to West Africa; serving on the CDC’s U.S. Ebola Rapid Response Team; working to get UNC Hospitals trained and ready for possible Ebola patients; serving as a spokesperson for Ebola awareness and funding in national and international media; and researching and teaching at UNC, Fischer says the recognition is undeserved. “It feels that I haven’t done enough yet,” he says. “I came back from Guinea with a lot of guilt. For not staying longer, for not doing more, for not being able to make a bigger difference. I’m completely honored and at the same time I view it as a huge responsibility. I view it as a challenge to live up to the ideals of Durham Academy, of people like Lou Parry and [retired history teacher] Dave Gould — people who expected more of me than I did of myself. I have to live up to this more than having deserved it. This is a huge challenge for me. This is a new bananaeating contest (laughs).” Fischer’s DA memories were probably more top of mind than usual during this interview en route to Baltimore, because he and his family had just taken a tour of the school. It was the first time he had looked at his alma mater from a parent’s perspective. “To see the teaching and learning environment in real time was something totally different than even I expected,” he said. “The thing that really struck me is how translatable the learning is to real life. For me that’s a huge skill. That’s what I want for my boys — for them to love to learn. To get hooked on it, because it’s a thing that motivates me every single day. I also want them to find out about themselves and the role they play in the world. Ultimately it’s my dream that they live a life of service.” Fischer is modeling the life he wants his children to lead, but it’s been tough balancing work and family. In the six months since his trip to Guinea, it’s been all Ebola, all the time. Max Englund/UNC Health Care

Parry: He went the full three minutes screaming with competitive anger at those bananas. His face was covered with banana mash. The man was being destroyed by those bananas as he tried to consume as many as possible. Banana “pudding” covered his entire face, and Billy had clearly been put in some sort of altered state by the whole affair. Fischer: And Lou and I are pushing each other on and the crowd is going nuts, and people are yelling, “Come on!” and Ward’s like, “You’re losing!” and I was just like, “There’s no way!” I was thinking, gosh, Mr. Parry’s a machine! There’s no way he could beat me, but I just kept going. Bananas were going in my forehead, bananas were all over my face; I had no clue what was going on. Parry: Every student kept to the script and pretended to cheer Billy on the entire time. “Go Billy GO!”, “You’re the MAN!”, “You’re winning! Don’t give up now!” As for myself, I couldn’t breathe, I was laughing so hard. Billy had a way of doing that to me. Well, when time was up a council member said, “Stop!” And Billy stopped. Flush with satisfaction, he was convinced he had won. Fischer: They pulled off the blindfold and I realized in an instant what had happened — that I’d totally been set up — and I just started laughing. I thought it was the funniest thing that I’ve ever been a part of, and I was so honored to be a part of that. ... Even though I was the butt of this huge joke in front of the entire school, it was neat. So I found a lot of humility — I learned a lot. Parry: Because you see, Billy is Billy. Always an adventurer. Always eager to try. Never afraid to fail if the effort had been good. These are magical qualities, and this is why in 40 years of teaching I consider Dr. Billy Fischer one of the finest people I have had the pleasure of sharing the classroom — and the gym with. Those qualities are just a few of the reasons why Fischer will be honored as the recipient of DA’s 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award at the Spring Alumni Reception on April 17. In spite of a host of achievements that include treating Ebola patients in an area of West Africa with one of the highest rates of mortality; developing a pre-deployment training course for Centers for Disease Control health care workers being

Fischer can only plan his life about 12 hours in advance, and that’s on the rare occasion there is a plan. There are times when he’s traveled to three different countries in three days just to share his expertise; he has hopped on a plane to join the CDC in Geneva within 72 hours; and he hasn’t set foot in his lab since he returned from Guéckédou. His drive is on overdrive, but slowing down is not an option. Fischer says his wife, Leah, is the one who holds them all together. “I’m the one who has the easiest job, because I’m the one who gets to go take care of patients. But it’s hard. I’m so lucky that my wife realizes what drives me and she’s allowed me to do these things because she knows it’s what

Courtesy Billy Fischer

CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: Fischer dons protective gear before treating Ebola patients last summer in Guinea. • Fischer leads an Ebola simulation training session for UNC Health Care employees at the UNC School of Medicine. • Fischer has been instrumental in developing transmission prevention protocols for health care workers and patients around the world.

I’m passionate about. It’s hard to extinguish passion. You can’t talk somebody out of it.” That’s why Fischer’s return to West Africa was really a foregone conclusion. When we spoke, he was preparing for a December trip to Liberia, the country hardest-hit by the unprecedented outbreak with more than 3,538 deaths. Fischer is part of a small team working on a clinical trial, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, that’s testing whether antibodies in the donated blood of Ebola survivors can be used to help infected patients fight the disease. Medicine is very data-driven, he says, and with Ebola, there is no data. What there

is, however, is an experience so extreme that very few health care workers are prepared for it. An intense, up-close critical care bootcamp that’s often lacking appropriate equipment, protection or medical expertise, and where the consequences of carelessness are almost always fatal. Fischer carried a valuable lesson with him to Guinea from his days at DA — you can learn from everyone — and put it to work, cataloguing his clinical experience. His goal is to translate his experience into helping patients survive Ebola, and helping health care workers protect themselves from infection. “What I’m doing is exciting. I’m totally motivated by the patient population to be better. I’m motivated by this guilt, this responsibility I carry around with me to be better, to be smarter, to do more, to do it faster. Whatever path I’m on, I know two things: one, I’m doing the things I should be doing because it feels right, and two, that I’m going to learn a lot along this process, which is going to inform whatever comes next. I’m not so worried about tomorrow as long as I’m doing today as well as I can.” But Fischer’s family does worry — about tomorrow, and the next day, and his work with a virus that kills a disproportionately high number of health care workers. “I keep saying a life of service is a life well lived. This is what I do. The very first thing my wife said is, ‘You’re the worst person to send to the center of an Ebola outbreak.’ That’s a true story. I think she was saying that I often felt burdened by infection control mechanisms like gowns at hospitals and I didn’t sneeze into my elbow 100 percent of the time,” he said with a laugh. “They were more worried about my safety than I was. And watching my dad struggle through the emotional rollercoaster of your son going off to the epicenter of an Ebola outbreak — it was emotional for me. It was tough.” While Fischer’s drive and dedication fuel his unwavering focus on helping doctors, nurses and patients survive Ebola in one of the most austere environments in the world, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel fear. There are two little faces that give him pause when he thinks about his next trip to the place where The Hot Zone and Outbreak scenarios have become reality. “That’s the hardest part, when I look at my kids. The only time I ever think about something

bad happening is when I look at them. But at the same time, I want them to know who I am, I want them to know that this is important, that the world is filled with people who are advantaged and disadvantaged and that we have a responsibility to make sure we take care of everybody.” Family is also where Fischer finds the release that helps him deal with the unimaginable stress. His idea of fun these days? Changing diapers. Or just taking a minute to check out a lizard through the eyes of his 4-yearold son. “People must have thought we were crazy; we were sitting on our hands and knees, looking at this lizard and just kind of watching him. And for me that was so refreshing to see something that I wouldn’t have looked at through a totally different perspective. For me it’s relaxing, it’s inspiring, it’s motivating all in one fell swoop. And it keeps me sane. That lizard was pretty cool today.”


• Read Fischer’s dispatches from his June 2014 trip to Gueckedou, Guinea. • Listen to Fischer’s first-hand account of trying to save a 9-year-old boy battling Ebola. • Why is Ebola so deadly and how do Fischer and his colleagues work together to fight the virus? Watch Fischer’s Grand Rounds presentation at Johns Hopkins. Dr. William Fischer II is associate program director for research in the UNC Department of Medicine’s division of pulmonary diseases and critical care medicine. Billy, as he is known, grew up in Chapel Hill, and has always been particularly interested in infectious diseases. He attended UNC School of Medicine and then was a medicine resident, chief resident and pulmonary and critical care fellow at Johns Hopkins Hospital. During his training, Billy worked at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization (WHO). In June, he was asked by WHO to help work on emerging pathogens and was sent to Guinea to work with Doctors without Borders to try to help reduce mortality from Ebola virus in rural communities. He tweets at @WFischerII.



Strategic Plan Survey, Listening Sessions Identify Key Issues for DA’s Future BY LE SLIE K ING, DIREC TOR OF COMMUNIC AT IONS


ow do you determine the direction for Durham Academy’s

20 years; record-high fundraising during the 2013-2014 fiscal year; the

future? Luckily, DA is no stranger to strategic planning, having completed

most racially, ethnically and geographically diverse student body in DA

at least a half-dozen over the course of the school’s history. Many

history; and the highest number of students from across the Triangle

of the people, places, experiences and core values we now take for

participating in the school’s summer programs.

granted (exceptional faculty, innovative liberal arts education, sincere

The Strategic Plan Steering Committee is chaired by DA parent

commitment to diversity, new Lower and Upper School campuses, a

and trustee Lauren Whitehurst. The 10-member Steering Committee

learning commons, new athletics facilities) grew from constituent surveys,

represents parents, faculty, alumni, administrators and trustees.

listening sessions, retreats and strategic plans themselves. DA launched into the 2015 Strategic Planning process from an

The strategic planning process began in earnest in August, with approximately 200 faculty and staff members participating in a day-

unprecedented position of strength — starting the 2014-2015 academic

long retreat consisting of two listening sessions followed by an issue

year with the school’s largest-ever enrollment; its lowest attrition rate in

prioritization exercise. The goal? Generate answers to two central

DA gets  overall  strong  marks.  

Overall SaAsfacAon  

Likelihood to  Recommend   1%   1%  

1% 0%  

13% 35%  

Extremely sa5sfied  

Extremely likely  

Very sa5sfied  


Somewhat sa5sfied   Not  very  sa5sfied  


Not at  all  sa5sfied  


Somewhat likely   Not  very  likely  


Ques5ons:   •  Overall,  how  sa5sfied  are  you  with  your  experience  at  Durham  Academy?   •  How  likely  would  you  be  to  recommend  Durham  Academy  to  others  if  you  were  asked  for   your  opinion?  


Very likely  

Not at  all  likely  


Courtesy The Link Group


Overall Importance  of  the  Five  Strategic  Priority  Areas   • Faculty  and  Curriculum  are  clearly  the  two  most  important  areas.  












7% 11%  

Ranked 1st  






Ranked 2nd  

9% 3%  



5% 3%  





Ranked 3rd  

Ranked 4th  

Courtesy The Link Group



Ranked 5th   9  

questions that would frame the 15 listening sessions to follow: “What

parents, 21 percent were alumni, 16 percent were Upper School students,

do you value most about DA?” and “What merits consideration for this

13 percent were faculty/staff and 9 percent were other constituents. View

strategic plan?” The top priorities generated by faculty and staff revealed

complete results from the survey at

common threads that would run through listening groups to follow: • Determine the optimal size of the school • Define a plan for financial growth and sustainability

DA gets overall strong marks The majority of participants strongly agreed that Durham Academy

• Update the facilities master plan

fulfills its mission to provide each student an education that enables him

• Integrate the curriculum across divisions and departments

or her to lead a moral, happy and productive life.

• Increase diversity across multiple areas In September, more than 1,100 DA parents, faculty, staff, alumni, Upper School students and community partners participated in an

Overall importance of five strategic priority areas The strategic priority issues tested were categorized by faculty,

anonymous, online survey to help the Steering Committee understand

curriculum, financial sustainability, community/diversity and facilities.

what matters most to DA constituents and assess support for various

Overall, faculty and curriculum were identified as the two most

initiatives. For the first time, the design and execution of the survey

important areas.

itself and the interpretation of the data generated were conducted by professional market research company The Link Group, founded by DA parent and trustee Tom Pfeil. Of the survey participants, 50 percent were

Within those strategic priority areas, 10 issues were ranked as significantly more important overall for parents and alumni: continued on page 8



1. Faculty imbued with passion, energy and a love of teaching

parents, DA alumni based in the Triangle, San Francisco, Boston and New

2. Overall quality of curriculum

York, parents of alumni, trustees and administrators — gathered for 16

3. Critical thinking skills in curriculum

listening sessions held throughout the fall to share their visions for the best

4. Best-in-class faculty quality for independent schools

faculty, curriculum and community DA could imagine.

5. Faculty compensation and support that ensures the attraction and retention of high-quality candidates 6. STEM subject offerings

Combined results from the survey and listening sessions were condensed into common themes and priorities to guide the development a working draft of the strategic plan during a January retreat.

7. Faculty with a moral force of character

Those common themes were:

8. Inclusiveness of our community 9. Stated, understood and enforced standards of excellence for

• Recruit, retain and support of an excellent faculty full of “lifechangers” who are consistently evaluated

faculty evaluation

• Integrate the curriculum for a connected student experience

10. Welcoming nature of our community Following the online survey, more than 200 members of the DA

• Incorporate opportunities for innovative teaching and learning that produce “life athletes”

community — including Middle and Upper School students, current


Beth Anderson, trustee Executive Director, The Hill Center Mark Anderson ’81, parent, alumnus and parent of alumni Attorney, McGuire Woods LLP Jerry Benson, administrator, parent and parent of alumni Director of Business Services Karen Berman, trustee and parent James Bohanek, faculty Co-Chair, Fine Arts and Drama, Upper School Bryan Brander, administrator and parent Head of School, The Hill Center Wendy Brooks, trustee and parent Attorney, Kennon Craver, PLLC Owen Bryant, faculty and parent Chair, History Department and History, Upper School Sheri-lyn Carrow, administrator and parent Interim Preschool Director and Pre-Kindergarten Teacher Jennifer Crawford, faculty and parent of alumni Third Grade Teaching Assistant Rajeev Dharmapurikar, parent COO, AdviseStream, Inc. Ben Edwards, parent of alumni Managing Partner, Art and Science Group Susan Ellis, faculty Physical Education, Middle School Steve Engebretsen, administrator and parent of alumni Director of Athletics



• Preserve DA’s welcoming and inclusive nature

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

Steve Farmer Vice Provost for Enrollment and Undergraduate Admissions, UNC-Chapel Hill Lisa Ferrari, trustee and parent Parents Association President Pediatrician, Durham Pediatrics Gib Fitzpatrick, faculty and parent Math, Middle School Ashley Freedman ’97, parent and alumna Mike Giarla, parent of alumna CEO, Amundi Smith Breeden Associates, Inc. Lisa Griffin, parent Professor, Duke University Law School Lee Hark, administrator and parent Assistant Head of School and Director of Upper School Leslie Holdsworth, administrator and parent Director of Development Trevor Hoyt, administrator Director of Technology Seth Jernigan ’96, trustee, parent and alumnus Alumni Board President VP-Brokerage and Business, Real Estate Associates, Inc. Doreen Johnson, faculty History, Middle School Xandy Jones ’78, administrator, alumna and parent of alumnus Administrative Assistant to Head of School Edith Keene, faculty and parent of alumna Chair, Foreign Language and Latin, Upper School

• Create shared experiences for PS/LS/MS/US families

priorities and goals of the strategic plan (what DA is going to do over

• Reach out to alumni in new and deeper ways

the next three years), the rationales behind the goals (the reasons why

• Enhance commitments to racial, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, DA is tackling these particular goals) and action steps outlining how DA affordability and accessibility

will achieve those goals. The administrative team, faculty and all retreat

• Engage local and global community partners to increase experiential participants will have an opportunity to provide feedback and input into and service learning • Evaluate ways to make DA’s existing community service curriculum more intentional and impactful • Develop multi-year financial sustainability and facilities plans that balance endowment growth, tuition control and financial aid

the draft plan before it is submitted and discussed during the March 2015 board of trustees meeting. Once the strategic plan is approved at the April 2015 board of trustees meeting, Head of School Michael Ulku-Steiner and the school’s administrative team will develop a short- and long-term action grid to implement each goal.

In early January, a group of 55 parents, faculty, administrators, alumni, parents of alumni and trustees participated in the two-day retreat, facili-

The final strategic plan will be shared with the entire DA community following approval by the board of trustees. Many thanks go to those who

tated by Dan Baum, executive director of the Redwoods Group Foundation. participated in this critical process through offering up their time, their The goal of the retreat is to produce a draft document defining the

• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Leslie King, administrator and parent Director of Communications Dana Lange, trustee and parent Events and Community Editor, Durham Magazine Anne Lloyd ’82, trustee, parent, alumna and parent of alumnus Chair, Board of Trustees VP, Wealth Management, Suntrust Chris Mason, faculty and parent Fourth Grade Teacher, Lower School Debbie McCarthy Executive Director, Augustine Literacy Project Pamela McKenney, faculty Art, Lower School Jon Meredith, administrator and parent Director of Middle School Brendan Moylan ’85, trustee, parent and alumnus COO, Sports Endeavors, Inc. Victoria Muradi, administrator Director of Admissions and Financial Aid Kemi Nonez, administrator and parent Director of Diversity Emily Oliver ’80, alumna and parent of alumni Consulting Associate, Art and Science Group Jeff Parkin, faculty and parent of alumni Counselor, Middle School Satyen Patel, parent Executive Chairman, PrescientCo Inc. Tom Pfeil, trustee and parent Partner, The Link Group

expertise and their support.

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

Garrett Putman ’94, parent and alumnus Marketing consultant Beth Reeves, faculty and parent of alumnae Reading Specialist, Lower School Caroline Rogers, parent Manager, Carolina Biological Supply Carolyn Ronco, administrator and parent of alumni Director of Lower School Jamie Spatola ’00, trustee, parent and alumna Writer, Publisher, Editor, Mental Floss, Inc. Shelayne Sutton, trustee and parent of alumni President, Interior Design and Insurance, Daly Seven, Inc. Karen Triplett, parent Parents Association President-Elect Michael Ulku-Steiner, administrator, trustee and parent Head of School Eric Ward, parent and parent of alumni CEO, AgBiome Jessica Whilden ’00, faculty and alumna Kindergarten Teacher, Preschool Lauren Whitehurst, trustee and parent Chair, Strategic Planning Committee Lanis Wilson, faculty Dean of Boys; English and Psychology, Upper School Alexandra Zagbayou High School Program Director, Student U



Senior Challenge lives up to its name — and so much more GOING STRONG FOR 36 YEARS, EXPERIENCE BUILDS COMMUNITY, LEADERSHIP




“Sometimes, it’s a little difficult, but it’s Senior Challenge, not Senior Disney,” Murray says with a smile. And there’s a flip side to the difficulty. “I think they get a sense of true accomplishment. It’s kind of neat because it’s a challenge to themselves individually, and it’s a challenge to work with a group.”

Priyanka Purohit, Anna Wears, Austin Elizabeth Regnerus and Nico Herndon represent a diversity of outdoor experience levels. I’m comforted by the knowledge both that I’m PHOTOS BY MELODY GUY TON BUT TS not the only one lacking camping experience, and that we AND GREG MURR AY have an Eagle Scout among us in James. I can also tell that we’re in great hands with our Black Mountain Expeditions instructors, Jamie Terry and Dave Grams. understood the real beauty of Senior With Jamie and Dave, we go through our backpack Challenge not gazing out at a gorgeous sunset • DAY 1: SAT UR DAY, AUG . 23, 2014 contents. Sleeping bags and pads? Check. Headlamps? from a mountaintop perch, not zipping to the For the four-or-so-hour bus ride from Durham Check. Clothing for both really warm and really cold bottom of a gulley on a rappel rope — but in to Black Mountain this morning, I refuse to allow my weather? Check. Contraband Snickers bars? Uh, no. the midst of an overnight torrential rainstorm, mind to imagine the adventures — or misadventures Phones? Way, way no. awakened by the cold, wet material of our shelter — that might lie ahead over the next six days of Senior We then divvy up the shared supplies, like stoves, on my face once again. Challenge. To tell the truth, I am a wee bit nervous. water-treatment devices and these extra-protective tentOK, maybe not in that moment, exactly — I do not come from a family of campers; the closest I like tarps called Megamids, which Jamie and Dave say are but the next morning, after a night spent taking ever came was sleeping in a tent on the Rockingham leagues better than the tarps that most groups will use. turns with the students who slept alongside me to Speedway racetrack as a young Girl Scout. There, we Dividing the food supply — a wide variety, from cheese temporarily steady our poorly anchored shelter, it had the benefit of nearby restrooms, and I’m pretty sure and peanut butter to fresh vegetables and canned chicken was clear. Senior Challenge is an experience that that the facilities on this camping trip won’t be quite so — rounds out our packs. develops grit. It is an experience that cultivates pristine. Fortunately, I have the benefit of an engaging and As some of the other groups head off to their community. It is an experience that makes leaders wonderfully distracting seatmate in Claire Burdick. destinations, our group of 14 gathers to discuss what we’re out of those who before saw themselves only as Before we know it, the bus grinds to a halt. All 99 excited about and what makes us nervous. Most of us are followers. of us — 96 seniors and three adults (Lee Hark, Thomas excited about bonding with one another, rappelling and For 36 years now, Durham Academy’s senior Phu and me) — lumber off the buses, grab our meager hiking. What makes us nervous? Far and away, the most class has been heading to the North Carolina belongings and head to an open grassy field, where we are popular answer is using the bathroom outside. mountains for an outdoor adventure that has met by Senior Challenge director Greg Murray; the four We pile into a van that takes us to our starting point, become a hallmark of the DA experience. DA “Mountain Men” who help behind the scenes, Lou somewhere in the awe-inspiring Linville Gorge area. We Senior Challenge is “the perfect Parry, Verle Regnerus, Steve Engebretsen and Rick Dike; stop for a chat at the trailhead, and Dave gets right to the combination of physical, mental, emotional,” and several dozen staff members from Black Mountain point: We’re all going to have to get comfortable using the says Greg Murray, an Upper School physical Expeditions, which organizes the program with Greg. We bathroom outside. He offers tips on taking care of our education teacher who has served as director of circle up around Greg, who offers a little motivational business with discretion and sanitation in mind, and we Senior Challenge for the past 10 years. “They’re talk before getting to the moment the students have been take a short hike to a campsite. challenged to do things that don’t come naturally waiting for with bated breath: the announcement of the Jamie and Dave show us how to set up our shelters to them. I think they get a taste of who they are, groups. and guide us to a nearby stream to collect water for what they can accomplish. They come to the I am pleased to learn that I’ve been grouped with 11 drinking and cooking. They walk us through the allrealization that they can tough it out.” students whom I don’t know very well; the biggest motiva- important water-treatment process and demonstrate how That might mean toughing out incessant tor behind my decision to attend Senior Challenge was the to use the stoves to make dinner. We decide that our first rain for all six days, consecutive sleepless nights or opportunity to get to know more of our incredible seniors. wilderness meal will be pasta, made tasty with Parmesan the discomfort of hauling 60-pound backpacks Neil Cornwell, Nathaniel Brooke, Elizabeth Hall, Helen cheese and seasonings like garlic powder and crushed red continued on page 12 for miles uphill. Morgan, James Grubbs, Thomas Olson, Holly Caudle,




pepper. “This is the best pasta I’ve ever had,” I hear one camper say from the darkness. I think we had all been bracing ourselves for the worst. Continuing our crash course in outdoor living, Jamie and Dave take us to hang “bear bags” containing all of our food and other items that might smell appealing to bears, like lip balm and toothpaste. It takes a long time to find appropriate trees for supporting our stash out of reach of bears in the dark of night, and it must be close to midnight when we zip up our sleeping bags and turn off our headlamps. The roots of Senior Challenge trace to the fall of 1979, four years after the graduation of Durham Academy’s inaugural graduating class. The first trip was optional, but about 75 percent of the class, or between 30 and 40 students, traveled to spend a few days in the North Carolina mountains with a goal of becoming more acquainted with nature and one another. In those early days of Senior Challenge, the experience was typically about three days long, concluding with a day either canoeing or whitewater rafting. It has evolved over the decades that followed, says Lou Parry, a physics teacher who served as the program’s director for 23 years. Senior Challenge is now seen as the culmination of an experiential education program spanning students’ Middle and Upper School careers; from the fifth-grade trip to Camp Thunderbird to the 10th-grade High Rocks experience, students learn the basics of outdoor living and the importance of supporting one another as a community. Because the High Rocks trip includes rafting, that activity is no longer a part of Senior Challenge — but, as any alum of the wilderness


adventure will tell you, there are plenty of other adrenaline-inducing experiences. The six-day Senior Challenge experience of today is also a bit longer than that of those first years. “We really wanted to make it so that they have to let go,” says Murray, who first participated in 1985. “They have to release their techno self and get in touch with their primal self. I joke with them that their Snapchat is looking over their shoulder and talking with someone. Their Instagram is the memory of what they saw when someone rappelled for the first time. That memory is better than a quick photo that pops on your phone, and you feel it.”

shoulder. My sore shoulders are nothing. After starting to unpack at our campsite, an exposed area on a summit near Table Rock, I head out with few of the girls to a stream that Jamie promises will have clean, clear water. It runs in a trickle in just a few places, but the ice-cold liquid flows over moss, which is an antimicrobial — so it’s worth the time investment. To collect all that we need, it takes at least 30 minutes for the water to trickle in. Drip ... drop ... drop. We engineer faucets with rhododendron leaves to get a decent stream in a few places and head back to camp with full dromedaries and water bottles, feeling ever-resourceful. We get a fire going, eat a dinner of pita pizzas and roast marshmallows around the fire while talking about our experience so far. • DAY 2: SUNDAY, AUG . 24, 2014 “I like the trust aspect, which I don’t think is When I wake to the sound of Jamie and Dave something we rely upon as heavily in our daily lives,” Neil shouting “rise and shine!” at the tops of their lungs, I am says. “We depend on each other here, and I like that pleasantly surprised to realize that I slept through the night feeling of knowing that Nico or Anna or anyone else in without waking once. this group has my back, and I have their back. We’re At Jamie and Dave’s urging, we split up to pack up pretty much a family, and I like that.” camp, collect and sanitize water, retrieve the bear bags Creating these “families” is an art that and make breakfast. I am beginning to understand that Murray has nearly perfected. He spends much of camping is an awful lot of work. Just before we hit the the spring playing with different groupings before trail, we feel the first raindrops of what would be a nearly finalizing them in the summer. He works to create daylong storm. cross-sections of personalities, friend groups and I didn’t realize just how heavy the backpack would experiences. The goal is for students to get to feel on my shoulders and back until we are well into the know classmates that they’ve never truly known uphill hike near Table Rock. Jamie estimates that our or have fallen out of touch with over the years. packs weigh between 40 and 60 pounds, and I feel every “It is a bonding experience,” Murray says. ounce of it. But then I look ahead and am impressed “You don’t get any closer to someone than when with how my comrades, particularly those burdened you sleep on the ground by them and are aware with injuries, are faring. Austin Elizabeth is walking on of one another taking care of their physical needs, an injured ankle with nary a complaint, Priyanka’s shin having to go potty in the woods and that kind of splints aren’t ideal for long hikes, and Helen has an injured thing. There’s nothing like it.”


• DAY 3: MO NDAY, AUG . 25, 2014 Priyanka, Austin Elizabeth and Helen — the three girls who slept by me in the Megamid — and I wake up in a fog after working much of the night to keep the shelter upright. The constant rain had softened the ground in which one of our anchors was planted, and the winds swirling atop the summit blew it over repeatedly. Despite their lack of sleep, my “roommates” are cheerful as we head out for a mystery adventure. The rain is finally abating. Where we are going, without our packs, we don’t know until we see Greg and Verle (Austin Elizabeth’s father) standing with a pair of Black Mountain Expeditions rappelling instructors at Devil’s Cellar, a gulley that I know is Greg’s favorite rappelling spot. Thomas goes first — a mere silhouette as he glided down through heavy fog. Before long, the fog burns off, allowing us to see the blue ridges of the surrounding mountains for the first time since our arrival. The scene is beautiful beyond words. I don’t have trouble with heights and hadn’t expected that rappelling would make me feel nervous — but I have to really will myself to lean back, putting my trust in the instructor who is belaying me and in the ropes holding my weight. It just feels so unnatural. Then, a feeling of freedom hits as I lean back and zip down the gulley. This moment is so symbolic of a huge part of Senior Challenge — placing trust in this community we’re building. A short time later, that feeling of exhilaration is replaced by worry, as Holly slips on the trail, twisting her ankle and banging up her knees. She is in so much pain that Jamie, who has wilderness first aid training, recommends that she have it examined by a doctor. Holly has to leave us for the day, but we’re hopeful that she will be able to rejoin us later in the trip. We learn that the last half of our trip will be spent

in the Mount Mitchell area, so we take a long van ride to the summit, which just so happens to be a parking lot full of tourists. I don’t think any of us have been quite so aware of our stench — going on three days without showers — until we catch a whiff of the soapy-clean smell of those who’d had the luxury of running water. Before we hit the trail, Jamie and Dave warn us that they are “taking a step back.” From here on out, they are here only for our safety, and we’re responsible for making all decisions, from when to wake up to where we’ll camp. Each day of the trip, we’ve chosen a “Leader of the Day” and “Navigator of the Day” from the group, and these roles are now even more important. After about a two-mile hike, we choose a campsite near a place called Commissary, rush to take care of our evening duties and bundle up for the night. The elevation is much higher here, and the air is colder. “AT I T S DEEPE S T PHILOSOPHIC AL COR E, T HE PRO GR A M HA S NOT CHA NGED AT AL L . T HER E I S CL E AR LY SOME T HING SPECIAL ABOU T T HE WAY W IL DER NE S S CHAL L ENGE ENCOUR AGE S S T UDEN T S TO F IND T HEIR BE S T SEL F A ND, IN T HE END, I BEL IE V E T HAT I S W H Y SENIOR CHAL L ENGE HA S ENDUR ED.” — L O U P A R R Y Through the “Leader of the Day” and “Navigator of the Day” system, each participant — whether they see themselves as leaders or not in their everyday lives — uncovers the leadership skills within. It’s a core part of what is, essentially, the Senior Challenge curriculum taught by Black Mountain Expeditions instructors. Leaders of the Day are responsible for

delegating tasks and ensuring that the group remains on schedule. Navigators of the Day find their way around using only a map, compass and geographic clues like elevation. “We want every student to be in a position of leadership, to have that opportunity,” Murray says. “Some step up right away, some get the firewood without being asked, some take the hike to get the water. But some need to be prompted. It’s not that they’re lazy, it’s not that they’re fearful, but it is a big deal that we put them in a position of leadership and a position where they have to follow.” • DAY 4: T UE SDAY, AUG . 26, 2014 With the knowledge that our fate is in own hands and that Jamie and Dave will only intervene in the case of danger, we know that we have to be as efficient as possible in packing up camp and getting on the trail to our next destination. We figure it will be at least an 11-hour day, and our Leader of the Day, Anna, has the perfect balance of assertiveness and kindness to get us moving. Before leaving, Jamie breaks some bad news: Holly will not be rejoining us after all. The news is tough to swallow, but we have to forge on. We all want to make Holly proud. The six-mile hike to our destination flies by thanks to sing-alongs and the general good humor of the group. At some point Sunday, we settled on a team name: “The Facilitrees,” an homage to a bathroom position suggested by Dave. (I’ll leave it at that.) We’ve all taken to yelling out “Facilitrees!” as a rallying cry as we walk. Judging from the position of the sun, we’ve made great time to our campsite, and Dave challenges us to take care of our requisite chores and eat dinner (it’s Taco Tuesday) before dusk. As Jamie says, Dave is a total “fire continued on page 14



junkie,” so we make a huge campfire with the abundance of dry pine branches around the site in hopes of pleasing him. After eating, we gather around the blaze and take turns telling funny stories. It’s nice to finally have time to relax and purely enjoy one another’s company. I’m grateful to have 13 new friends. “IN M Y L IMI T ED E X PER IENCE, T HE MOR E UNCOMF OR TABL E T HE T R IP I S, T HE MOR E T HE S T UDEN T S L E AR N ABOU T T HEM SELV E S A ND E ACH OT HER . GR EG MUR R AY OF T EN SAY S, ‘SENIOR CHAL L ENGE D OE SN’ T BUIL D CHAR AC T ER , I T R E V E AL S I T.’ I BEL IE V E T HAT W HOL EHE AR T EDLY. I HAV E TO — OR CHO OSE TO — PUSH M Y SEL F JUS T L IK E T HE S T UDEN T S D O.”

— L E E


Assistant Head of School and Upper School Director Lee Hark has attended every Senior Challenge for the past six years. “One of the most important things about Senior Challenge is that it binds together almost every DA high school graduate for the past 35 years,” he says. “It’s one of very few through-lines that have remained intact for DA over the years. It’s tradition; it’s glue.” Although the program has evolved over time, the mission remains the same from when it was founded by former Upper School Director Stu Wallace in 1979 — and there’s something special about that, Parry says. “At its deepest philosophical core, the program has not changed at all,” he says. “There is clearly something special about the way wilderness challenge encourages students to find their best self and, in the end, I believe that is why Senior Challenge has endured.” • DAY 5: W ED NE SDAY, AUG . 27, 2014 I haven’t quite expressed how fantastically lucky our group is to have Jamie and Dave as instructors. Not only are they incredibly skilled, but they’re fun. If they


were characters in a sitcom, Jamie (who’s about my age, around 30) would be the one who plays it straight, and Dave (who’s a college student) would be the goofy one chasing wacky schemes. On this morning, they are apparently both feeling silly and crash into our Megamids wearing ridiculous outfits for “Wacky Wednesday.” After preparing and savoring a delicious breakfast of bacon, grits and hash browns, we hike to the summit of Pinnacle, a mountain that promises breathtaking views. Not disappointed, we sit quietly for a bit and talk about how the view makes us feel. “Calm,” someone says. “Small,” says another. It is a big, beautiful world, indeed. Our next destination is near Walker’s Knob, and our Leader of the Day, Helen, and Navigator of the Day, Nathaniel, get us there well before sundown. I’m amazed by Helen’s display of perseverance in the face of an unfortunate development; one of her brand-new hiking boots is falling apart, with the sole holding on only with the help of James’ UNC-themed duct tape. (Good thing she’s not a Duke fan!) The accommodations for this final night might best be described as the Ritz Carlton of the wilderness — a shelter with a fire pit. We scurry around, taking care of our chores so that we might have time to catch sunset at the peak of Walker’s Knob. “Two summits in one day is a pretty good day,” Dave says, and I couldn’t agree more. Earlier in our trip, we rationed our bounty of food a bit too much, so we’ve deemed this final night as our Thanksgiving dinner. Fried bagels with brown sugar serve as an appetizer, followed by mac and cheese and a beautiful trifle that Jamie concocted from chocolate pudding, marshmallows, Life cereal and gummy worms. Afterward, we all try to put into words what the trip has meant to us during one last campfire chat. Some of us have learned how to work better with others. Many of us have gained confidence in ourselves and in our ability to lead. All of us have expanded our friend group and been inspired to rethink our life priorities. “Going out on that mountain today and looking at that view — once you see it, everything else feels OK, because you know it’s a bigger world,” Anna says. “You know that if you don’t get into Harvard or a certain school, it’s just not going to be that big of a deal. ... The most important thing is valuing and understanding the people around you and the natural things around you. ... It just made me really self-assured and made me feel like


whatever happens, happens, and we’ll always have this.” Some of the lessons of Senior Challenge can’t easily be learned in a traditional classroom setting, Hark says. “One of the founding principles of the high school was the notion that learning can take place inside and outside the classroom,” he says. “On Senior Challenge, the lessons occur daily, and in small and big ways. Our students are perceptive and intuitive, and you don’t have to work hard to explain the metaphors that reveal themselves, but I believe that what they experience outdoors together as classmates, teammates and co-advisees gets ingrained in ways that ordinary classroom experiences do not.” There’s also value in persevering through the mental and physical challenges that give Senior Challenge its name. “In my limited experience, the more uncomfortable the trip is, the more the students learn about themselves and each other,” Hark continues. “Greg Murray often says, ‘Senior Challenge doesn’t build character, it reveals it.’  I believe that wholeheartedly. I have to — or choose to — push myself just like the students do.” • DAY 6: T HUR SDAY, AUG . 28, 2014 It’s our final morning together as “Facilitrees,” and we head out early, a little after 6 a.m., in order to make it to our pick-up site on time. Our trail is steeply downhill, with lots of rocks and roots to slow us down. What we thought would be a two-hour hike ends up taking much longer, and we later learn that we’re the final group to make a return to the base camp. Our spirits are high, though — with a smorgasbord of breakfast delights at the base camp mere miles away, and the knowledge that the next night’s sleep would be in comfy beds back home. As we draw near to our pick-up site, our voices join together for an a cappella version of the song that seems to best fit the occasion: “I’m coming home, I’m coming home, tell the world that I’m coming home.” We are indeed coming home, but not as the same people we were when we left. Our lives are fuller with the perspective earned through living in the transcendent simplicity of nature, and with the friendship of one another.

Kathy McPherson

ABOVE: “It seems to pep me up to see kids so vivacious, so curious, “ says Myron Greenside, an Emerald Pond resident who reads at the Preschool and plays chess with a DA kindergartner.

DA’s youngest students form bonds with senior citizen neighbors BY KATHY MCPHERSON, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS


ive-year-old Arav Goldstein was enthralled when he spotted the super-sized game pieces and chess board in the upstairs hallway at Emerald Pond, a retirement community just down the block from Durham Academy’s Preschool. A budding chess player, Arav wanted a match on that big board, and it wasn’t long before 93-year-old Myron Greenside obliged. It didn’t matter that Greenside hadn’t played chess since 1943, when he was confined to a U.S. Army hospital and needed something to occupy his time. And it didn’t matter that he was old enough to be Arav’s great-grandfather or that Arav was new to chess. What mattered was the kindergartner and the nonagenarian could enjoy time together. Arav takes chess lessons at DA, and Greenside said he is a “very eager and knowledgeable young man. He was beating me the first time; he was ahead by a good piece when we had to stop playing. The second time we played, I won the match.” Arav first spotted the over-sized chess set on Halloween afternoon when a number of DA Preschoolers and their families went trick-ortreating at Emerald Pond. The Halloween visit was part of a deepening relationship between the 105 students in DA’s Preschool and the 120 seniors who live at the retirement community.

Service to others has long been part of the Preschool experience, and that typically involved collecting items and donating them to people in need, said Interim Preschool Director Sheri-lyn Carrow. “We weren’t doing anything where we could build a relationship,” Carrow explained. She remembered an ongoing relationship with a senior center when she worked at a school in New Jersey, and she recalled that things went well when DA’s Lower School did a science project with Emerald Pond several years ago. When Carrow approached Emerald Pond and pitched a partnership, Enrichment Coordinator Bonnie Gay “jumped on the idea” of DA’s youngest students interacting with the residents of the retirement community. The relationship began in September, when Gay visited the Preschool and read Oma’s Quilt, a book about a grandmother who reluctantly moves to a retirement home and takes a patchwork quilt stitched with snippets from her life to make her feel at home. Gay and Carrow also explained the new partnership to Preschoolers, and introduced the concept of Emerald Pond residents as neighbors. DA’s four kindergarten and two pre-k classes got busy making six patchwork “quilts” from paper in anticipation of meeting their neighbors, with each child contributing a quilt

square. On Sept. 26, Preschool Unity Day, the entire Preschool walked down Ridge Road and presented the paper quilts to Emerald Pond residents. Colorful autumn artwork, Halloween trick-or-treating, Thanksgiving decorations and trimming the Christmas tree with child-made ornaments are among the ways Preschool students have interacted with Emerald Pond. But good relationships aren’t one-sided; Emerald Pond residents read in Preschool classrooms each week in November, and they were an appreciative audience at a rehearsal for the Preschool’s Songfest. The relationship will continue with more reading and a performance by the Emerald Pond Bell Choir at the Preschool, and each Preschooler will make a valentine for the folks at Emerald Pond. Even though the two groups are at opposite ends of the age spectrum, they can share experiences that build bonds of friendship. “It’s fantastic — it’s a great opportunity for kids to get a chance to see others in the community,” Delores Moore said after helping her pre-k son Landon decorate a Christmas tree at Emerald Pond. “The bond they have is wonderful. “When we drive past, Landon says, ‘There’s Emerald Pond. My friends are there!’” Moore said her daughter Mailyn, a first-grader, had a terrific experience at DA Preschool, “but the relationship with Emerald Pond residents is making Landon’s experience extra special. It’s heartwarming to see him interact with them.” “Our residents are plugging into this with their whole hearts,” Gay said. “They looked so forward to reading at the Preschool. … It just gives another dimension to our residents. It’s been a long time since they’ve had a relationship with young children.” Greenside, the renewed chess player, is among eight residents who have been reading at the Preschool. “It’s a pleasure,” said Greenside, a tax lawyer and certified public accountant who moved from Boston last summer to be closer to family after his wife died. “This experience with young people in a way rejuvenates me. … They are bursting with zest and vitality. They are eager to tell you something, and they are not shy. It seems to pep me up to see kids so vivacious, so curious. It’s an illuminating experience.”



SOCK Camp embarks on 10th year of Serving Our Community’s Kids



n the surface, SOCK Camp — short for Serving Our Community’s Kids — is pure fun and games. Marathon slip ’n’ slide sessions, gigglefilled animal charade matches and afternoons whiled away crafting are typical of the free day camp for local elementary school students organized each summer by Durham Academy Upper Schoolers. But, as DA senior Anna Sundy will tell you, it’s much more than that. As a freshman, her first year as a SOCK Camp counselor, Sundy met a girl named Kayleigh. Sundy didn’t feel like she’d done anything special for the Hope Valley Elementary School student, but at the end of the week, Kayleigh offered up a big hug and thanked her. Sundy didn’t think much of it until a year later on the opening day of camp following her sophomore year. “The moment Kayleigh saw me as she was getting on to campus, she gave me this running, tackling hug,” Sundy, who is now one of SOCK’s directors, recalls with a wide smile. “The fact that she remembered exactly who I was a year later, it really reminded me why I do SOCK.” To the 40 or so campers, SOCK is more than just fun. It’s a chance to just be a kid. The campers come from families whose budgets are stretched tight, with little or no money for summer camp. “You think it’s just a one-week thing, but the bonds end up just lasting so much longer,” says Constance Leder ’14, a former SOCK director who is majoring in special education at Clemson University. “A lot of these kids wouldn’t have the opportunity to do anything like this over the summer if it weren’t for SOCK. ... We just give them a chance to be kids and not worry about some of the things that they usually have to think about on a day-to-day basis.”

SOCK’S START Leder’s sister, Samantha Leder ’08, along with fellow 2008 classmates Ashley Brasier, Mary Elizabeth Lovelace and Brennan


Vail, came up with the idea for SOCK in 2004 after students from a Duke University entrepreneurship class challenged DA students to generate ideas for programs to benefit their community. At stake was a small pot of seed money offered by Youth Venture, a national program that aims to empower young people to drive change in their communities. “We ourselves had fond memories of our own summer camp experiences and thought this would be an impactful and fun way to give back to the community,” Samantha recalls. So the quartet of girls, then freshmen, worked with DA biology teacher William Edwards to massage their idea into a formal proposal, which they presented to the Duke graduate students. About a week later, the news was good: the panel awarded a $400 grant to help start SOCK. At that point, in spring 2005, there wasn’t enough time to responsibly get the camp off the ground for the coming summer, so the girls set their sights on a summer 2006 launch. “There were more logistics to work out then we could have imagined — everything from meeting with [DA Director of Business Services] Jerry Benson about liability, to coordinating faculty to drive the morning and afternoon buses, to drafting health forms, to communicating with local elementary schools, to planning the daily activities, lunches and snacks,” Samantha says. The group of directors worked to supplement the Youth Venture grant funding with money raised through small campus fundraisers like ice cream sales, and identified local restaurants — most of them connected to DA — to donate lunch each day. They also took great care to select 20 counselors, all Upper School students, from an enthusiastic applicant pool. “We plugged away at each detail slowly but surely until everything came together on that early June morning in 2006 when the first group of campers came onto campus smiling


Melody Guyton Butts


ABOVE: Sophomore Isaac Arocha was among the Upper School students who spent a week last summer volunteering at SOCK Camp. RIGHT: Senior MacKenzi Simpson enjoys one-on-one time with a camper. With a 29 US volunteers for just over 40 campers, each camper got plenty of personal attention.

and ready for a great week!” recalls Samantha, who is now pursuing a Master of Social Work at UNC Chapel Hill. That first year, about 20 campers arrived at DA via buses driven by teachers who volunteered their time. In the years since, SOCK has been able to gradually accommodate more campers — most of whom are first- to fourth-graders at Hope Valley and Forest View elementary schools — growing to about 40 participants in recent years. That growth has required SOCK directors to identify ever-more funding sources, like a variety of grant programs and an annual benefit concert featuring DA jazz-rock ensemble In The Pocket. SOCK now runs on a budget of about $2,000 a year, not counting in-kind donations. It’s a true DA community effort, Edwards says. College counselor Kathy Cleaver has prepared homemade hot lunches for the entire camp several times over the years, for example, and several DA families have donated money, goods and services, like craft materials, food and signage.

Melody Guyton Butts

A STUDENT-DRIVEN EFFORT For Edwards, it’s been a pleasure to witness the maturity of the DA students who have served as directors and counselors. The camp directors’ responsibilities are year-round, and he works to help connect them with the proper contacts and ensure that i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed during school-year planning — but the students are responsible for attending to the details. Edwards is even less hands-on during the week of camp; he checks in a few times a day and is nearby — as assistant director of Summer Programs — to help handle emergencies, but students are firmly in the driver’s seat. “We have an amazing resource in our students,” he says. “They’re so mature in their approach to taking on responsibility. It’s really pretty amazing to see that firsthand. It’s a situation where I’m trusting them to take care of children. They troubleshoot so well — they’re so readily able to take care of problems on their own, which I think is really kind of heartwarming to see.” Edwards sees great value in the skills that students gain by working with SOCK. Essentially,

directors learn how to run a business — organizing the army of people it takes to make the camp run smoothly, setting schedules, meeting deadlines, and raising and budgeting money. And the enhancement to students’ people skills is immeasurable — patience, listening, adaptability and diplomacy are critical when working with people of all ages, from elementary-age campers to adult volunteers. “From its outset, SOCK Camp has been the singularly most fulfilling volunteer activity of my career at DA,” Edwards says. “Working on and with SOCK has always made my heart smile.” Twenty counselors and nine directors worked with just over 40 campers at the 2014 SOCK Camp, making for a counselor-camper ratio that’s hard to beat. Each day of camp centers around a theme, from Science Day to Carnival Day, each with a balance of educational and purely fun activities. The first day of the 2014 camp, Game Day, involved plenty of soccer, a name game and free play. A trio of firefighters treated campers to a tour of their truck and offered fire-safety tips. “Oh yeah, we had a lot of fun today,” one

camper said at the end of the day, as she proudly held up a florescent pink beach pail and water bottle that she had personalized with dragonfly appliques and colorful pipe cleaners during a crafts session. “I wish we could do this every day this summer.” Undoubtedly the most popular day of camp each year is Water Day, when campers and counselors let loose on a huge inflatable water slide, with garden hoses and buckets of water. It’s been a Friday tradition since the very first year. “From slip ’n’ slides to water balloons to a bouncy house and the ever-popular cookout lunch complete with freeze-pops, this was always a day of non-stop fun,” Samantha Leder recalls. “This was also the day when we took our all-camp picture and had time to reflect. Friday signified the culmination of a successful week serving a very deserving population in our community. I will always remember the smiles, the laughter and the thank-yous that came from campers and parents alike on these Fridays, reminding us that we really had, even in a small way, made a difference.”





he Middle School’s intramural field day tradition has been inspiring passionate competition and good sportsmanship for more than 30 years. Sunny skies and Goldilocks-quality temperatures set a perfect scene for this year’s event, held Dec. 12. Students from each fifth-grade and sixth-grade advisory volunteered to participate in two or three events, including the 40-, 50- and 100-yard dash, various relay races and field events like the soccer kick, softball throw and long jump. While the fronts of students’ hand-decorated T-shirts advertised their advisory allegiances — with creative team names like the “Hall Stars,” “Savarin Sharks” and “Parry Penguins” — their backs offered a message of unity in sportsmanship: “Be Kind, Be Responsible, Be Your Best Self.” P H O T O S









DA alum donates new 3D printer, launching makerspace in Upper School Learning Commons he machine whirrs and chugs, rapidly layering more hot plastic onto a model. Students passing through the Learning Commons see its tiny, precise motions through the office window and draw to a stop. “What’s it making?” they want to know. “Can I watch?” They are welcome to. The Upper School’s newest piece of technology is, after all, there for them. It is a sleek machine, a cylinder about a yard tall, and it is infinitely more interesting than the ancient laminator whose spot it has taken in the library office in the Learning Commons. Assembled by Noah Katz ’09 and generously donated by the Katz family, the Rostock Max v.2.0 3D Printer works rather like a very, very sophisticated glue gun to build thin plastic layers into detailed models. Such models can reach up to eight inches in diameter and over a foot tall — although the Upper School librarians, who run the 3D printing program, request that most printing involve smaller items to be mindful of the amount of time and filament used. Katz believes the Upper School is the just place for a 3D printer. “As an educational institution, I think DA has an amazing opportunity to expose students to new and amazing technologies/​​scientific methods that they might never otherwise see, just as they probably can’t do gene sequencing or advanced chemistry on their kitchen tables,” he wrote in an email. “3D printing has only recently become available to the public in a big way, and it’s changing the face of manufacturing by enabling individuals to take the power of an entire factory into their own hands. “Now is the best time to expose students and faculty alike to the early phases of a technology that could grow to be as large and important as personal computers. ... From models of aircraft engines to molecules to sea turtles to technical gadgetry and accessories for


complex lab tools, the ability to create intricate, unique objects without ordering them from a far-flung corner of the world could change the way people at DA think about the process of making itself.” Since the printer’s arrival on Dec. 3, a steady stream of students have come through the office to peer at the machine, while others choose to take quick peeks through the big window. During free periods, tutorial, lunch and before and after school, students come with questions, ideas and just to watch. More than one student has asked permission to sit in the office while doing homework, just to be in close proximity to the machine at work. About 30 students have expressed interest in being “student experts” who will routinely come in and check on the printer, start new print jobs, troubleshoot and help organize the print queue. When the printer had been at the Upper School for little more than a week, it already held a few weeks’ worth of printing jobs. These student experts have attended an orientation session to familiarize them with the software that runs the printer. The software has a bit of a learning curve, as do many of the programs available online to design a 3D model more or less “from scratch.” So far, most items successfully printed have been those modeled by other people and available for free online. Phone cases are


Kathy McPherson


Kathy McPherson

B Y K AT H E R I N E S P R U I L L , A S S I S TA N T L I B R A R I A N , U P P E R S C H O O L

particularly popular, but students and staff have also printed paperweights, Christmas ornaments, bracelets, an amplifying iPhone dock, crowns, figurines and more. Some students have used the online 3D modeling programs and designed files themselves: pieces for Science Olympiad, diorama pieces for forensics projects and a few items of personal significance.

Kathy McPherson

Kathy McPherson

Kathy McPherson

“We wanted students to be able to explore a new technology and create something interesting,” said Shannon Harris, Upper School librarian. “We want them to make things that cater to their interests.” Projects for school and clubs do get bumped to the front of the print queue, partly because they tend to be time-sensitive, but they do not comprise the majority of that queue. Plus, designing or picking a file can be a learning opportunity in itself. The librarians regularly contact students who have submitted printing jobs and inform them that there is trouble with their file. It could have tiny parts that will not print correctly. It could be the wrong file type. There could be something wrong with the code. Whatever the problem is, the students must work out how to fix it or how to find a better file — not always a simple task.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP RIGHT: Noah Katz ’02 arrives with the 3D printer his family donated to the Upper School. • An Upper School student inspects one of the objects created on the 3D printer. • Tristan Ramage (left) and Victor Harpe (right) explore the many possibilities with 3D printing. • A whimsical cell phone case was among the projects Upper School students produced using the new 3D printer. • Katz displays a DA logo he made using the 3D printer.

After winter break, the student experts who have already attended orientation sessions began monitoring the printing. A 3D printing-related Learning Lunch for students and faculty is being planned, and additional orientations will be held for those who want to work more closely with the printer. Depending on student use, the Learning Commons may eventually change its policy to limit the types of files students are able to print to ones they have designed or altered themselves. For now, however, students are free to print whatever they choose, as long as it is appropriate and of a reasonable size. Most importantly, everyone at the Upper School is able to experience a new and exciting technology sharing the same space where students eat lunch, laugh with friends and do their homework. It’s accessible. It’s interesting to watch. And, as many people have pointed out, it’s very cool. Students and faculty alike are quick to share stories about 3D printing prototypes they have heard about in the news: 3D printed prosthetics, 3D printed food, 3D printed organs and so on. “The world of 3D printing is still in the Atari phase,” Katz said, referring to the electronic gaming console from the 1970s. Where better to get acquainted with the technology of the future than at Durham Academy? “This is an exciting venture for us, for many reasons,” said Upper School Director Lee Hark. “First, it allows our students to experiment with this technology in a space that is rapidly expanding what it means to be a ‘library.’ Second, this is a great example of the kind of learning our students will increasingly be doing — it’s physics, chemistry, computer science and art all in one. Third — and most importantly in my eyes — it has facilitated a connection with an alumnus who is out in the world, doing great things.”



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ne of the many benefits of our connected world is anyone can learn anything at any time. A simple Web search will lead to information on the Internet, but the process of choosing a learning resource involves many complex decisions. Understanding the tools available, what type of media is best for the desired learning, and personal learning style while discerning credibility are only a few of the decisions we make, often without notice and in mere moments. This learning, however, is quite different from the traditional methods one likely experienced in elementary schools prior to 1990. How can we teach what we don’t know? This question, among others, are the questions we are asking ourselves as part of our work in Digital Literacy Cohorts launched this fall at the Lower School. We are setting out to examine and expand our own digital literacy in order to better understand what digital literacy instruction means for and with students. While we have studied digital literacy and the importance of such skills, nothing replaces actual experience and reflecting on the learning process. Being mindful of our own digital learning process will help us better identify these skills in order to model and teach them to our students. Cohorts are learning communities that support each other in reaching highly individualized learning goals. As opposed to traditional professional development, this approach utilizes a blend of face-to-face meetings and connecting virtually with each other to share learning in a continuous cycle of discussing, exploring and reflecting (in no particular order). First-grade teacher Debbie Suggs refers to this cycle as “stretching, striving, failing, struggling ... connecting, succeeding, growing!” Teachers do most of their learning on their own and meet with their cohorts for support,


Kathy McPherson

Teachers turn to Twitter as a tool

ABOVE: Lower School music teacher Clinton Wright, right, talks with cohort members Anna Mesen, left, and Carrie Fitzpatrick.

discussion and accountability. “We have only met twice, but it feels like we have been connected for a much longer time. Just like my classroom, we feel safe to share failures and concerns. We share in each other’s success stories. We inspire each other and support each other,” Suggs said of her cohort meetings. The first task required of the cohorts was to become “connected educators.” Educators all over the globe are making connections and building relationships with other teachers, administrators, professors and industry leaders to share ideas, resources and expertise. Cohort members are using Twitter to form or strengthen these connections. The cohort participants approached this activity with different levels of experience and were challenged to learn and grow based on their own needs. “I’ve been a little nervous about using Twitter, but as I begin to explore how the site works, I’m feeling more comfortable,” said Martha Baker, Lower School counselor. “Being asked to stretch in a supportive environment allows teachers to determine their own learning goals. Teachers are not checking off a list of tasks, they are determining how they can grow as learners then taking those steps.” Reading specialist Beth Reeves described her experience this way: “I had actually already been following other people in my field on Twitter, but I had not ever tweeted anything or retweeted. It has been great to discover how easy it is to take the leap from using Twitter as a passive tool to using it as an interactive tool. The cohort is a great platform from which to gain support, and at the same time, to be given the push to use technology to effectively and efficiently communicate and network with other educators.”


Through connecting to others to learn, educators form Personal Learning Networks (PLNs). These networks are highly personalized based on the needs and interests of the individual. “Twitter has been very useful to me as a platform for professional growth,” said Lower School Spanish teacher Mercedes Almodovar. “It allows me to communicate globally with other Spanish teachers. I get ideas for fun activities, compare curricula and stay informed of the latest foreign language models and best practices.” Throughout the year, teachers will be connecting with their PLNs to support their learning needs as educators. The second task assigned to the cohorts was to learn about and apply strategies for managing their PLNs. Considering learning styles and personal preferences, defining goals, establishing routines and locating resources and tools are all steps required for successful individualized learning in our connected world. Being mindful of their own learning allows teachers to identify skills students will need to develop in order to become independent learners. Moving forward, cohort members will continue to step beyond their comfort zones by identifying professional learning goals and using their Personal Learning Networks to reach those goals. The best professional learning allows participants to explore relevant topics by learning from experts, as well as empowering educators to take charge of their own learning. Additionally, professional learning must be part of the day-today professional life of teachers rather than limited to a few designated days. The goal of education is to prepare our students for a successful future, and educators who are fully prepared for success is the first step toward that goal.

Exploring Durham’s hip food scene, bite by bite


e were part of a group of Upper School students that embarked on a formidable journey to explore the food scene in Durham on Nov. 4-5. On the first day of the Fall Food Seminar, we took a minibus to Beyù Caffè in downtown Durham for breakfast. As we sat at a long table enjoying our coffee, hot chocolate and assorted muffins, the owner of Beyù Caffè, Dorian Bolden, spoke to us about the journey that led him to the food scene in Durham. His first job was actually not related to the food industry at all, but after devising the idea and gathering the necessary investments, he set out to create a truly unique environment: a jazz club and restaurant all in one. This combination has culminated into a successful venture downtown, where music and food coalesce nicely. Our next stop was Coon Rock Farm, a sustainable family farm near the Eno River. After a hearty greeting from the farm’s four dogs, we were guided around the farm to see the various vegetables and animals. The most impressive of the latter appeared in the form of giant pigs, as long as many of us are tall. Despite their imposing size, the pigs were quite friendly, even letting us pet them.

LEFT: Upper School students arrive at Piedmont, one of the stops on the Fall Food Seminar. BELOW: Scott Howell, chef and owner of Nana’s, Nanataco and downtown’s new Bar Virgile, was part of the panel of restaurateurs.

On our way back to Durham, we stopped at Panciuto, a restaurant in downtown Hillsborough. Panciuto sources nearly 95 percent of its ingredients from local farms, and we were able to sample some of the more exotic ingredients and foods that they serve. We tried pawpaw fruit, a delicious pawpaw pudding, acorn flour and beef heart sausage. We headed back to downtown Durham for lunch, eating at Pompieri Pizza and Bull City Burger. The owner of both restaurants, Seth Gross, told us everything but the ketchup is made from scratch, and both restaurants are dedicated to an environmentally friendly approach to dining. For example, all of the paper waste (napkins, plates) are either recycled or composted, and never sent to the landfill. Our last stop for the day was at Piedmont, a restaurant open only for dinner and Sunday brunch. General manager Crawford Leavoy talked with us about the financial aspect of owning a restaurant. It is Melody Guyton Butts

Melody Guyton Butts


B Y A N N A B E L L A G O N G ’ 15 A N D E L AY N E WA N G ’ 15

his job to determine the entire cost of the ingredients, rent, labor and profit, and estimate a price for each meal. He also stressed the importance of hospitality. He told us that he personally emails people who write unfavorable reviews on websites such as Yelp, and invites them back for a meal on the house. He always strives to do whatever he can to guarantee that his customers have the best experience that they possibly can. Even though pleasing everyone who walks through the door is impossible, Crawford comes pretty darn close. Before heading back to school, we stopped in Daisy Cakes right next door for a sweet treat. The following day, we invited a panel of restaurateurs, all with connections to DA, to come and speak to us. Our panelists included Brian Bottger from Only Burger, Laura Hall from The Refectory Cafe, Fida Ghanem from Saladelia, and Aubrey Zinaich-Howell and Scott Howell from Nana’s. Each shared their personal journey to running a restaurant. All admitted that while running a restaurant can be challenging, it is also immensely fulfilling. The panelists all specifically mentioned that what set their establishments apart from other restaurants was their attention to the freshness and quality of the food that they provide. Like Crawford, they also emphasized the importance of offering excellent service to their customers, because that component, in addition to the food, is instrumental in ensuring the success of the restaurant. The Fall Food Seminar was not only a great program to discover the food of Durham, but also an excellent opportunity to learn about the trajectories of people working in the food industry; for some of us, it definitely whetted an interest in exploring careers in that sector.





Melody Guyton Butts

Four senior athletes sign letters of intent to compete in college

ABOVE: Jordan Barry will play field hockey at Stanford, Chloë Lewis will compete in lacrosse at Duke, Eliza Dekker will run cross country at Dartmouth and Anna Wears will be a member of the golf team at Wake Forest.

ar-to-ear smiles and a staccato rhythm of snapping camera shutters set the scene in the lobby of Kirby Gym on Nov. 12 as four Durham Academy seniors signed letters of intent to compete in Division I college athletics. Jordan Barry will play field hockey for Stanford University; Eliza Dekker will run cross country for Dartmouth College; Chloë Lewis will play lacrosse for Duke University; and Anna Wears will play golf for Wake Forest University. “Everybody standing here is really, really proud of you all,” DA Athletics Director Steve Engebretsen said at the signing ceremony. “We’re proud because of how well you’ve done in your sport and what you’re getting to do. ... We’re proud of what kind of young ladies you are, and it makes it easier to celebrate something like this, when you’re standing here with four young women who are just great teammates and great students and represent the school so well.” Barry heads to Stanford with an impressive résumé: two-time NFHCA (National Field Hockey Coaches Association) All-America; three-time NCISAA (N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association) All-State; two-time TISAC (Triangle Independent Schools Athletic Conference) Player of the Year; and two-time DA team MVP. Barry also lettered in swimming and was a three-time All-State lacrosse player. “Jordan has been an amazing competitor at Durham Academy,” said DA field hockey coach Judy Chandler. “Her athletic ability, competitiveness and desire to be the best have


led her to where she is today. She was able to play any position, which has contributed to all the success we have experienced while she was part of our program.” The significance of the signing ceremony was overwhelming, Barry said. “Everything we’ve worked for our whole lives, practically, has come together to get us to this day,” she said. “I’m especially excited to be doing this today with my best friend [Lewis] by my side.” Lewis nodded in agreement, adding, “All of the sacrifices we’re made — it’s all worth it.” Lewis is a three-time NCISAA All-State lacrosse player and was twice named DA’s defensive MVP. She also lettered in swimming and has been named All-State and team MVP in field hockey. “Chloë has shown through her focus, perseverance and positive attitude, on and off the field, that dreams can come true,” DA lacrosse coach Debbie Rebosa said, noting that Lewis is the first recruit from North Carolina to play lacrosse for Duke. “She has been an inspiration.” Dekker will leave DA with a slew of records and titles to her name. Among her cross country honors: three-time NCISAA champion; five-time NCISAA All-State; five-time TISAC champion; and six-time DA team MVP. Dekker’s track honors include state championships in the 800 4 x 400 relay and 4 x 800 relay; school records in the 800 (2:12.12), 1600 (4:53.4) and 3200 (10:38.67); and the state meet record in the 800 (2:12.85).


Wearing a letter sweater that belonged to DA cross country and track coach Dennis Cullen’s when he was at Dartmouth, Dekker said she’s looking forward to the next chapters in her athletic and academic careers. “I’ve always run, since I was 7 or 8,” she said. “And now, the fact that I’ll be able to continue to do that in college — especially at Dartmouth — means so much.” Dekker’s love of running and competition has made her a thrill to coach, Cullen said. “She knows that it takes a great deal of time and commitment to reach the level she aspires to,” he said. “She should thrive in a college setting where her teammates are as dedicated as she is.” In Wears’ sole season as a Cavalier golfer, she’s made a name for herself, earning the titles of team MVP, NCISAA All-State player, TISAC Player of the Year and TISAC co-champion. “I have told Anna many times that the team and I would have been blessed simply to have her as a teammate, a friend, a supporter, an example of hard work — even if she couldn’t play … but boy, can she play!” said golf coach Greg Murray. “She is a humble, encouraging leader. Wake Forest is lucky to get one of our finest!” Officially committing to play at the college level on Wednesday was both exciting and “a little scary,” Wears said. “It means so much,” she said. “I know that it will be a lot of work, to compete on this level and do well academically. But you make time for the things that you love — and I love golf.”


Courtesy Harrison Haynes




• DA TEACHER’S ARTWORK FEATURED AT NASHER MUSEUM Upper School photography teacher Harrison Haynes is among 13 local artists whose work is being featured in Area 919, a special exhibit at Duke University’s Nasher Museum of Art. The Nasher called the special exhibition “a survey of noteworthy work by artists who live in the Triangle. Some of the artists show their work internationally in contemporary galleries and museums; others are newer to the art world. All of them contribute to a vibrant and innovative local artist community.” Area 919 includes three pieces by Haynes, and a photo collage by Haynes was used in promotional materials for Area 919. The exhibit opened in January and will be on view until April 12. “I’m really proud to be included in the Nasher exhibit,” Haynes said. “Having my work shown in a nationally recognized contemporary art institution is a career milestone, but it is the undertaking of this show The Nasher Museum of Art used this photo collage by in particular, an effort on Harrison Haynes to publicize its special exhibit Area 919. the part of the Nasher to recognize and celebrate a specific community of artists in the Triangle, that feels important. That community … is made up of visual artists of all disciplines who challenge the geographic hierarchy of the art world: the crumbling assertion that one’s proximity to metropolitan centers determines the efficacy of the artwork. Through the seriousness and depth of their work, these artists participate in conversations about art, culture, politics and humanity at the local, the national and the international level, all while reveling in this area’s singular quality of life and its ever-increasing influx of newcomers. “I’m really not trying to toot my own horn here,” he added. “There are several artists in this show that have been role models for me, and to have my work hung next to theirs is a joy.”  Haynes said that in many ways, “teaching at DA has made me a better artist. The instructional approach to visual art works as an incredibly productive foil for the creative process, and I’ve made better art as a result. The support that I’ve received from DA, not only in the form of interest and encouragement from my colleagues, but also through practical systems like the Summer Grant Program, has been tremendous. I can’t imagine another job that would dovetail with my art practice quite so well. I’m really thankful to be here and to be able to share my art with the DA community.”

• CAROLINA PARENT HONORS DA WITH ‘FAMILY FRIENDLY 50 AWARD’ Durham Academy has been named one of the top 50 familyfriendly companies in North Carolina. DA is the only Triangle independent school to be recognized. For 15 years, Carolina Parenting Inc., the owner of Carolina Parent, Charlotte Parent and Piedmont Parent, has recognized North Carolina companies for actively supporting and encouraging working parents. DA was recognized as one of the 2014 N.C. Family-Friendly 50 for offering benefits including maternity and paternity leave as well as a paid leave plan, flexible work options, after-school and school holiday child care options, parenting or family support groups, and wellness programming. This was the first year DA was nominated for the award. To be considered for this year’s N.C. Family-Friendly 50 award, Durham Academy submitted information about employee benefits and programs along with employee testimonials. Senior associate directors from the undergraduate and graduate business programs at UNC Kenan-Flager Business School in Chapel Hill reviewed this information, and the final list of honorees was determined in partnership with the business school. “Work-life balance is built into the Durham Academy philosophy. We are a family of educators, administrators and helpers who take care of each other, and believe quite strongly in supporting work-life balance because it is what we live and breathe. Our generous paid leave programs present opportunities for employees to simply embrace life and navigate life challenges when they arise,” said Patti McLamb-Creed, Durham Academy human resource generalist. What makes Durham Academy such a special place to work? Visit at DA and hear faculty and staff describe their experiences supported by DA’s family-friendly philosophy. • SOPHOMORE CHRISTY CUTSHAW REACHES FINALS OF USA DIVING WINTER NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS Competing against the best divers in the nation, Durham Academy sophomore Christy Cutshaw and her diving partner placed fifth in the nation in the synchronized women platform event at the USA Diving Winter National Championships from Dec. 16 to 21 in Columbus, Ohio. Cutshaw and her partner, West Coast-based Olivia Rosendahl, were the youngest divers to compete in the eight-team field at nationals — an event with an average age of 22 — and were among the five teams to reach the finals. Cutshaw’s mother, De Cutshaw, reports that her daughter and Rosendahl were offered a mere 30 minutes to practice together in the Ohio State pool before the preliminary round. “A high degree of difficulty is required to even enter the competition,” De Cutshaw said. “Although they finished fifth of five in the finals by a few points, their experience was priceless and their dives terrific. And No. 5 in the U.S. for two teenagers is an accomplishment.”






DA Alumni

to honor Tim Dahlgren with Faculty and Staff Legacy Award


hen alumni recall their time at the Middle School,Tim Dahlgren is likely part of those memories. He’s taught at Durham Academy since 1976, served as Middle School director from 1981 Join us as we present the to 1999 and continues to teach 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award history there. Tim Dahlgren will be to Dr. Billy Fischer ’94 and recognize Tim Dahlgren as the 2015 Faculty/ honored on April 17 with the Staff Legacy Award winner. DA Alumni’s Faculty and Staff Food and beverages will be provided, Legacy Award. It’s an award that along with the opportunity to honors “those who made us who catch up with former teachers, we are,” and few students have staff and classmates. come through the Middle School without being shaped by Tim An invitation will be sent via email Dahlgren! The Faculty and Staff Legacy in late February, so if we do not have your up-to-date email address, Award was established in 2012, please send it to Tim McKenna, and is presented at the Spring Associate Director of Alumni Affairs, Alumni Reception in conjunction at with the Distinguished Alumni Award. Past recipients include Dave Gould, Ed Costello and Sheppy Vann. This spring’s event will be April 17 at 6 p.m. in the Upper School Learning Commons, and is open to the DA community. SPRING ALUMNI RECEPTION FRIDAY, APRIL 17, 6 P.M. UPPER SCHOOL LEARNING COMMONS



believe that those of us who graduated from Durham Academy fondly recall our time at DA based on a collection of very specific and unforgettable moments: a school play … the last-second shot that sealed a victory for the Cavs … rappelling at Senior Challenge. Those special memories can never be repeated or replicated, and that’s why we hold them so dear. But what if I told you that one of the core experiences that you enjoyed most as a student — namely the gift of learning and instruction from our amazingly talented faculty — could be repeated again and again as alumni? Last year, Jamie Krzyzewski Spatola ’00 and I came up with the idea to bring alumni back to the classroom with the launch of our Alumni Book Club. We decided to partner with iconic DA teachers and ask them to lead informal conversations with alumni about their favorite book. “My Favorite Book” was born January 2014 when we held our first Alumni Book Club gathering at Jamie’s home with Upper School Director Lee Hark leading a fabulous discussion of Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity. Lee’s passion, wit and personal observations were a perfect complement to his cool. In October, my wife Harriet and I hosted “My Favorite Book” with Middle School history teacher Tim Dahlgren, who picked The Aviators by Winston Groom, which tells the tale of American aviators and how they redefined heroism through their genius, daring and uncommon courage. More than 20 alumni joined the discussion, and a great time was had by all thanks to Tim’s patented ability to string together historical connections, insightful questions and an ever-present sense of humor. As I sat in a chair next to Tim during the conversation, I was teleported back to his eighth-grade classroom, and it felt like all was right in the world. Our plan is to schedule a “My Favorite Book” meeting twice a year, and our next gathering will be March 18 at 7 p.m. Please email if you’d like to attend the next Alumni Book Club gathering or participate via Skype.




Kirk Kirkland ’03 reinvents college financial aid through micro-scholarships for high school students

Kirk Kirkland speaking at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education’s

KIRKLAND Q: What inspired you to start A: I decided to start after spending six years as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley. During that time, I increasingly felt the desire to pursue work that had a more positive and tangible impact on people’s lives. I began mentoring low-income students in the Bronx and gained first-hand knowledge of the challenges they faced, especially as they relate to preparing and paying for college. I began dedicating a portion of my time to researching potential solutions. I was fortunate to reconnect with a college friend who shared my interest in helping low-income students pay for college, and together we started in late 2012. Q: Give our readers some insight on and how you help students. A: is a social enterprise that is rethinking the way students access financial aid and prepare for college. Over $100 billion in scholarships are awarded annually, but most of them are awarded too late to affect students’ college ambitions or college application decisions. As a

result, many talented students, especially those from lowincome and under-represented backgrounds, fall behind. is an online platform that allows students to earn “micro-scholarships” as early as the ninth grade based on their individual achievements inside and outside of the classroom. For example, college partners like Penn State or Oberlin may award students $500 for each “A” they receive in English or $250 for each community service activity. In addition to reducing the cost of college, the micro-scholarships increase student engagement and motivation by breaking traditional scholarships into small attainable goals and making the path to college more tangible for students.  Q: Tell us a little more about your business model and financial support. A: was initially incubated by ImagineK12, a premier education technology incubator located in San Francisco. In 2013, we were awarded a grant by the Gates Foundation and Facebook for our work in promoting college access. That same year, we

Business Plan Competition, where the company he co-founded was awarded $75,000.

won the GSV/ASU Education Innovation Summit Venture Award, as well as $75,000 in awards at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education’s Business Plan Competition. Since then, we have raised two rounds of equity capital to support our growth. We are committed to offering our services for free to high school students and administrators. The primary source of revenue for is the administration fee charged to colleges and other sponsors awarding micro-scholarships through the platform.  Q: How can people learn more about the company and support your work? A: People can learn more about us at or, and can follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@Raiselabs) and Pinterest. Raise is open to all high school students in the U.S., so please spread the word to students, teachers and parents. By doing so, you will be helping deserving students prepare and pay for college.  Q: What is the vision for the company as you move forward?

A: We hope to enable all scholarship sponsors, including corporations, foundations, colleges and individuals, to increase the impact and effectiveness of their scholarship programs. In addition to the benefits of awarding micro-scholarships, we’ll help sponsors align awards with actions that are more highly correlated to future student success and move away from traditional measures like standardized tests. Our vision for students is that over time they will build a robust academic portfolio on — a LinkedIn for high schools students. They will be able to use their profiles to apply for jobs or third-party scholarships, and eventually as an electronic college application. Kirk Kirkland is the COO and co-founder of The San Francisco-based startup was founded as Raise Labs in 2012 by Kirkland, Preston Silverman and Dave Schuman, and launched publicly in August 2014. Currently, is partnered with more than 30 colleges and is being used by thousands of high school students across the U.S.






Theater Club, as “a smart, passionate playwright,” one who “writes bold, complicated, imperfect and, often heroic women with great humor and compassion,” Treem arrived at Durham Academy at the Sarah Treem at the beginning of Golden Globes this winter. her sophomore year in 1995. SARAH TREEM ’98 Transplanted from her home in Connecticut when her father took a job at Duke Hospital, Treem’s initial adjustment to the South and DA was anything but easy. She felt like the proverbial “fish out of water” and struggled in those first years to find her place at a school By Jordan Adair, that was very different from English, Upper School the public high school she had attended in Connecticut. Anxious as most teenagers t seems that Sarah are at that age, Treem wrestled Treem ’98 has always wanted with her desire to fit in and be to be a writer. From her earliest a part of this new community. years, beginning at age 7, she Her writing rescued her from has written — poetry, fiction, what was a pretty lonely jourplays — and her writing has ney at first, for it helped her deal been both her salvation and the with her anxieties, to explore vehicle that has taken her to them, understand them, and ulgreat heights both on the stage timately to find her place at DA. and the small screen. But by her This same desire to understand own admission, that journey has herself and to find her place in not always been an easy one. It the larger world are what drive has, however, been a life that is her writing to this day. immensely satisfying. During those high school Recently described by years, Treem threw herself Mandy Greenfield, the Artistic into a flurry of activities and Producer at the Manhattan academically challenging

‘Don’t start writing until you can’t not start’




classes. She took a slew of Advanced Placement courses, acted in a school musical, ran track, helped edit DA’s newspaper, started a club or two, and, most important of all, continued to write. Treem remembers that she was, by her own admission, a “lousy AP Physics student” at DA; however, her teacher Lou Parry said to her one day, “Sarah, you are very good at the emotional side of physics.” She believes that comment accurately reflects her writing life and her engagement with the larger world. She survived those high school years because she was able to cultivate her love of stories — something she has been enamored of since she was a child — by writing them. Treem had this advice to budding writers: “Don’t write for the sake of writing; write because you have a story to tell. … Don’t start writing until you can’t not start.” Though those times are mostly a blur to her today, she does remember several particularly noteworthy highlights, chief among them the support of Bob Singdahlsen, then the theater teacher at DA, who encouraged Treem to keep writing and to do so through the vehicle of one-act plays. Out of these musings and structure came Treem’s now longstanding contribution to DA theater, the Student OneActs. This program, one that fosters student writing and direction, continues today and has (except for a brief period) since Treem introduced it in the spring of 1998. Last year’s

Twenty-Four Hour Musical was its most recent incarnation. What Treem discovered through her writing is that every human being has one dramatic question they keep coming back to over and over again. As a writer in middle school and at DA’s Upper School, she unearthed her most primal anxiety: gender relationships and differences, most particularly a woman’s life and what that entails. She has mined this theme repeatedly in her writing to this very day. One can find it in the award-winning play she wrote in middle school about a particularly angst-ridden choice, Who am I Going to Sit with at Lunch? One can also find it in Mirror, Mirror (a funny meditation on and recasting of the Cinderella fairy tale), a two-act play she wrote at the Yale School of Drama that is only loosely based on her high school days, and in the very recent hit Showtime program The Affair, which she created (with Hagai Levi) and now executive-produces. Treem also wrote for the first season of the Netflix hit series House of Cards and collaborated with Levi on the acclaimed HBO drama In Treatment. Treem realized rather quickly that a childhood marked by many hours alone in the company of her thoughts, emotions and imagination made her well suited to the writing life. Today, she values and is quite comfortable with what she calls her “alone time.” She was always comfortable with her innermost thoughts, and soon


she learned to harness those emotional energies. This, in turn, allowed her to navigate through the world around her. This awareness, so critical to Treem’s success as a writer, works in concert with her daily thinking about character and language. In essence, she is always writing about herself and her life in one way or another, always hiding herself in her characters, ones she creates out of people she’s met and experiences she’s had. She is also acutely sensitive to language, its cadences and idiosyncrasies, and strives always to craft realistic and sincere dialogue in characters trying to express what’s going on around and inside of them. Treem has always written about the sometimes deeply conflicting lives of males and females. Over the course of her own life, she has come to recognize fully that men and women experience life in vastly different ways, and she strives in her playwriting to highlight and comment upon those often emotionally wrenching differences. Given her propensity to instill her characters with the essences of her own beliefs, Treem is keenly aware of the emotional risks playwrights take. “Your heart is on the stage,” she told me recently, for with every play she writes, she is saying to the audience, “This is what I believe.” The past two years have been incredibly hectic for


Sarah Treem’s The Affair wins a Golden Globe Award for Best TV Drama


hree years ago Sarah Treem walked into

Showtime president David Nevins’ office with a show about an affair and said she wanted to use it to talk about how marriage works. On Jan. 11, Treem and and co-creator Hagai Levi took the stage at the Beverly Hilton Hotel to accept the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series — Drama for their freshman Showtime series The Affair, besting veteran TV dramas Downton Abbey (PBS), Game of Thrones (HBO), The Good Wife (CBS) and House of Cards (Netflix). The show, which debuted on Oct. 12, 2014,

Treem, and she has come a long way from the 25-year-old newly graduated playwright living in a basement apartment in New York City, working odd jobs so that she could write and hone her craft. Over this period of time she has worked on a screenplay (adapting Until I Say Good-Bye, a memoir about dying), written the pilot for The Affair, gotten married and had a baby. Exhausted, sick and stretched thin, Treem definitely felt like she’d hit her limit. But, she “got through it all,” and in the process learned about her own limits and the need to respect boundaries. Treem was afraid at one point over the past two years that she wasn’t going to be able to have a child and a career, but that was one irrational fear she’s kicked to the curb. Yes, she still wrestles with some of the same anxieties she had when she was a student at DA, but now she has an outlet for them — her characters and her plays.

quickly became the buzz of the Internet with its Rashomon, he-said, she-said-style storytelling. It centers on Dominic West’s Noah Solloway and Ruth Wilson’s Alison Lockhart, the couple at the heart of the show’s titular extramarital affair, tackling central themes of marriage and infidelity. “We love our characters, we love their marriages, we love them when they falter. I think we could all treat each other’s relationships with a little more respect, because nobody really knows what happens inside somebody else’s marriage. And being married for your entire life is hard,” Treem said in a post-award interview. The Affair was one of the few new TV shows to earn three Golden Globe nominations. British actress Wilson won Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series — Drama for her portrayal of Alison, a waitress in a faltering marriage mourning the death of her young son. Co-star and Best Actor nominee Dominic West lost to House of Cards’ Kevin Spacey. Treem’s Golden Globe award can share the mantel with her 2014 Writers Guild of America Award (New Series) for the Netflix series House of Cards and her 2009 Writers Guild of America Award (New Series) for HBO’s In Treatment. Season 2 of The Affair debuts this fall. — LE SLIE


@ WWW.DA.ORG/MAGAZINE: • Watch Treem’s Golden Globes award acceptance speech • Treem’s Golden Globes 2015 press room interview






From Pittsboro to the End of the World

LEFT: Sarah Scott’s home is now Ushuaia, a small port city known as “the entrance to Antarctica.” RIGHT: Snow-capped mountains rise above the water in Ushuaia, Courtesy Sarah Scott

where residents sunbathe when the


“ ou live where?” “Ushuaia, Argentina. Look all the way to the bottom of South America on a map, there I am!” That’s the typical conversation I have had with family and friends for the last three years. Ushuaia is a small port city, “the entrance to Antarctica,” perched between the Beagle Channel and the Andes Mountains at 54 degrees south latitude. Snow-capped mountains rise above the water in every direction you look, and residents sunbathe if temperatures rise above 50 degrees F. I never expected to end up in this beautiful place, but my route here was partly influenced by my experiences at Durham Academy. I came to DA in my junior year of high school as the “new girl” from a rural public school. DA was different from any school I had previously attended. The inspiring teachers, inquisitive students and relaxed atmosphere opened my eyes to new experiences in education and learning. The friends I made at DA are today, 10 years later, like family. So many of my teachers made an impact on me, but my Spanish 3 teacher was the first person to really inspire me to study Spanish. At UNC Chapel Hill (Class of ’09 School of Journalism and Mass Communication), I minored in Spanish with the goal of working in bilingual communications. After college, while living in New York City with Sam (Hayes) Klein ’05 and Emily Glick ’05, I decided that I was overdue for an experience in Latin America. I sold off my furniture, packed up 30


temperature rises above 50 degrees F. BELOW: Scott helps travelers get to Antarctica aboard small ships.

my belongings and headed off to Argentina with a backpack on my back. The plan was six months of traveling, teaching English and improving my Spanish. It turned into a year after I landed a translation position at an NGO in Buenos Aires. Then, my life took an unexpected turn when I visited Ushuaia and met my now-fiancé, Gabriel. In the summer, Ushuaia swells with adventurous tourists

Courtesy Sarah Scott Courtesy Sarah Scott

SCOTT from all over the world coming to experience southern Patagonia and maybe even take a ship south to Antarctica. I pieced together work: teaching children at an English school, translating websites, giving spin classes and working for an Antarctic travel agency. In 2012, I first visited Antarctica aboard a 110-passenger icebreaker vessel. What an experience: a beautiful, vast white wilderness with curious penguins, huge icebergs and breaching whales! I started to get more involved in Antarctica travel — selling tickets, doing local logistics and even working one voyage. Last year, Gabriel and I started our own travel agency, Freestyle Adventure Travel, dedicated to helping people travel to Antarctica aboard small ships. We have helped more than 600 people visit the White Continent. I have learned so much over the past year-and-ahalf and still marvel every day at how travel has led me from Pittsboro, N.C., to a place, occupation and life I could never have imagined. We would love to receive DA alumni in our corner of the world! For more information about Freestyle, please check out www.



harity Snider Scribner ’83, recently celebrated the publication of her second book, After the Red Army Faction: Gender, Culture, and Militancy, with the Columbia University Press. Scribner is associate professor and Mellon Resident Fellow at the Center for the Humanities at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. The author of Requiem for Communism, she teaches comparative literature at the Graduate Center and LaGuardia Community College.







2 0 1 4

Classes ending in ’4s and ’9s gathered on Saturday, Sept. 27, at Tobacco Road Cafe to exchange stories, recall great memories, enjoy delicious food and share a beverage or two. More than 150 people attended the party, coming from all over the country. To see more photos, visit PHOTOS BY ROSEMARY NYE, MELODY GUYTON BUTTS AND KATHY McPHERSON

2015 FALL ALUMNI WEEKEND — OCT. 2 & 3 FRIDAY, OCT., 2, 2015 • Homecoming Activities, Alumni Social/Cookout, Athletic Events SATURDAY, OCT. 3, 2015 • Reunion Parties for Classes ending in ’5s and ’0s Visit for more information






It’s 12,000 miles to Cuiaba. We’ve got a full tank of gas, tickets to the 2014 FIFA World Cup and a 1994 Toyota FZJ80 Land Cruiser. Hit it. B y Dav id F ow l er ’1 0 • Pho tos cour t e s y of Dav id F ow l er a nd G r a n t F ow l er ’0 8


ith the NFL in full swing and college basketball starting to heat up, it’s not hard to imagine that America’s soccer fever, left over from last summer’s World Cup, would be coming to a bittersweet end. But this year’s tournament seems to linger on. The U.S. Men’s National Team’s run past the group stages and Tim Howard’s heroics against Belgium highlighted a tournament whose legacy is still holding on in the States. Whether you attended or watched from home, everyone has memories from this year’s World Cup. We were there, and needless to say, the memories will last us a lifetime. But for us, the best memories aren’t about the tournament itself. They are about how we got there. Who knows how it all started? Honestly, I don’t think it was any one thing that led us to drive to Brazil. As Mr. [Dave] Gould would say in Modern Euro, it was the confluence of events that led us there. Traveling to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup, several road trips in college or an innate thirst for adventure: each played a small role in what culminated as a one-month, 12,000-mile journey to the self-proclaimed homeland of the beautiful game. The trip was the result of several years of brainstorming and planning, but by mid-May we had finalized our equipment list, run the last checks on our 1994 Toyota Land Cruiser, packed and headed south to the U.S.-Mexico border. Well, you know, after graduating college and what not. Just three days after my direct flight from graduation in Boston to meet my brother Grant [’08] in Laredo, Texas, we were already through Mexico and into Guatemala, a beautiful and mountainous country. It was our first unknown border. We had driven through Mexico some months prior, but not much 34


farther south than Monterrey. We were both a little nervous, especially when as soon as we approached the immigration office, they turned us away — we had missed the aduana, or customs office, a few miles back, and didn’t have the relevant paperwork to leave Mexico. Crossing the border into Guatemala was a huge relief. It was our first real step into the unknown, and we passed the test. Our next border would prove a bit less successful. The “official couriers” we thought were helping to expedite our entry into El Salvador made out well that day, and the two gringos from North Carolina could only curse as their $50 stayed on the other side of the river. Both of those borders occurred in the same day, and needless to say, were at opposite ends of the good experience spectrum. But that’s the thing about experience: good or bad, you still have to learn from it. And learn we did. After perusing some Mayan ruins and sleeping in an old volcano in El Salvador — the first “break day” in our hectic driving schedule — we crossed into Honduras, a country somewhat notorious among overlanders for targeting foreigners. But where we were nervous before, we were slowly gaining confidence. And it paid off. We blazed through Honduras in a single day and were only stopped by the policia once before a look at our paperwork and a firm handshake sent us on our way. Guatemala had proved a mixed result, but Honduras went off without a hitch! I’d like to say it was because of our new-found expedition prowess, but that daydream was quickly ripped away when we got to Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua, and were promptly stopped by police three separate times. We most certainly didn’t run through that traffic stop, Officer, but he was determined to take our money, and

do both. On the morning of our fourth day in Cartagena, we packed out of our hotel at 3:30 a.m. and started south once again. The drive was mountainous and lush, and we made it to the Ecuadorian border in two-and-a-half days, only stopping for the occasional coffee break and an engine fusebox meltdown. Ecuador was largely uneventful, apart from the slowly changing environment around us. Leaving Columbia, we were slowly climbing higher and higher into the mountains, and Ecuador continued that trend majestically. With the rainforest to the east and the Galapagos to the west, we stayed on the mountain highway and trucked on through to Peru. Peru was definitely the most eventful of the Andean nations we passed through. It was only a few hours after truthfully, we had no idea how to stop him. Thankfully, it was far crossing the border that we were confronted at our camp site by a band of lawful vigilantes who may or may not have thought we less than what the Guatemalans got. were some sort of gang-related drug runners. We weren’t, but Onward we trekked into Costa Rica, stopping to camp on the armed mob demanded to see our documents and had a good the beach and enjoy the Champions League final with locals at hard laugh when they found out we were just americanos locos a surf bar. Before reaching Panama, we also went exploring in camping in a, let’s call it, unsavory area. They escorted us to a safe a rainforest and got the car stuck in a river, but that’s a story for local gas station and disappeared into the night. Lesson learned: another time. just because the customs official says it’s all right to camp on the Panama would prove to be a different challenge compared side of the road doesn’t mean you should just camp anywhere. with the rest of Central America. Instead of blasting Van Halen The following nights, we camped beside the ocean. We had riffs, we spent the majority of our three days there running back and forth to various administrative buildings and customs offices. descended from the Andes and wound south along the Pacific Ocean for a day, only to head inland and begin to climb back There are no roads between Panama and Colombia, only the Darien Gap, a remote region filled with mountains, swamps and into the mountains again. Like many of the countries we passed (supposedly) FARC guerilla groups, and we had to ensure that our through, I wish we had been able to spend more time in Peru. car would make it onto a cargo ship. With that finally settled, we We were within driving distance (by relative standards, anyway) of Machu Picchu and many other Incan ruins, but the World made our way, sans-Land Cruiser, to South America by boat. Cup was starting the following day and it urged us forward. After a few days at sea, we arrived. The beautiful city of We did manage a quick stop at the Nazca Lines, but the quickly Cartagena, Colombia, tempted us to stay inside its historic old fading sunset only showed desert and rock. At least we got to see walls, but it was the industrial port area outside of town that the sign! required our attention. Fortunately, because all the import paperwork took several days to finalize, we had some time to continued on page 36




The final hurdle before Brazil was Bolivia, the greatest unknown of our trip. Our original plan had been to enter Brazil straight from Peru much farther north, but questionable maps and extensive flooding after the rainy season forced us to deviate. Through Bolivia it was. The first section of Bolivia, apart from poor road construction and a few determined police bribery attempts, was beautiful. Entering the country next to Lake Titicaca at 12,500 feet, we spent the day driving with snow-capped mountains in the distance before camping on a hill overlooking the city lights of Cochabamba. The following day, we descended from the mountains and entered lush jungle landscapes, the tan and light brown of high altitude plains giving way to all varieties of green. The long descent was visually stunning, but extremely taxing on our brakes. They gave out a few hours later. Thankfully, we were on a flat highway when it finally happened, not on the curvy mountain roads we had traveled not long before. Fixing the brakes in the middle of nowhere was another arduous adventure. Gail Fowler, our mother, had arrived in Cuiaba, Brazil, on the morning of June 14, having left the U.S. without hearing from her sons in several days. Our satellite GPS tracker hadn’t updated in four days (we lost it in Bolivia), and I think it’s safe to say, she was nervous. When the evening of June 15 came around, our planned time of arrival, I think she might have been ready to have a heart attack. But sure enough, while she watched the evening’s match in the hotel lobby, a dirty and battered Land Cruiser pulled up in front and two haggard travelers exited. Despite the setbacks in Bolivia, including losing the brakes and hundreds of miles of washed-out, dirt “highways,” we had made it to Brazil. Twelve thousand miles of driving through 13 countries had finally paid off. And then there was the World Cup! Our trip from Durham to Cuiaba was an odyssey in itself, but it was just the beginning. We were at the hotel for barely an hour before we drove to the FIFA kiosk to pick up our match tickets. The following day we went to our first match, in which Russia and South Korea played out a 1-1 draw. Then we set out across the country to Brasilia. Brazil is a massive country, and it took several days to get there, but we made it to the capital



in time to watch Colombia play Côte D Ivoire, one of the most entertaining matches of the tournament. Then it was to Sao Paulo by car, and Recife by plane for Mexico vs. Croatia. We braved the Mexican beer-throwing goal celebrations and enjoyed some time relaxing on the beach before heading south to Natal to watch Italy take on Uruguay. The South Americans went through, despite another Luis Suarez biting controversy. It was a whirlwind to be sure, but the culmination made it all worth it: USA vs. Germany, the deciding match of Group G. It was pouring rain all day and the streets were flooded to the knees, but the America supporters were out in full force — and Grant, my mom and I were with them, sporting our red, white and blue. We lost the game 1-0 to the eventual champions, but that didn’t matter. We advanced! We had done the impossible and made it out of a group many said we would fail in. Despite the score line, our final match of the World Cup was the best one, and it was with high spirits that we flew back to Rio for a few days before collecting the truck, finalizing our shipping arrangements in Santos and flying out for Durham on the Fourth of July. Looking back, we were kind of like the U.S. national team. We had been drenched, beaten and constantly pushed by the challenges we faced along the road. We had been thoroughly tested by Central and South American authorities, bogged down by the downpour of paperwork at various customs and the taken a beating from some unforgiving terrain. But none of that really mattered in the end. We advanced. One day at a time, one mile after another, we just kept moving, taking on whatever was ahead of us. It might have started with a crazy dream, but we accomplished what we had set out to do. We will never forget the journey, or the tournament for that matter, but like the U.S. team, this is only a step in a much larger journey. We made it to Brazil and back, but there are always more journeys calling our name, and the road ahead is as unknown and as exciting as when we first left Texas. But hey, at least we have four years to figure out how to drive from Durham to Russia … For a little bit more detail about our trip, please check out We also have more pictures up at brazildrive and



ALUMNI Calendar Upcoming Events • March 18 • 7 p.m. Alumni Book Club, Alivia’s Durham Bistro • April 11 • 6:30 p.m. Durham Academy Benefit Auction, Washington Duke Inn • April 17 • 6 p.m. Spring Alumni Reception, Learning Commons • April 23 • 6 p.m. Alumni Networking Event, Washington, D.C. • April 30 • 7 p.m. Alumni Networking Event, Charlotte • May 7 • 1 p.m. Durham Academy Golf Tournament, Croasdaile Country Club

spring Alumni networking Events

Washington, D.C., Charlotte and New York City This spring, Durham Academy’s alumni office will host regional networking events in Washington, D.C., Charlotte and New York City. This is a great opportunity to catch up with old friends, make new ones and learn about all the exciting things going on at DA. These events are free; be on the lookout for an Evite in the next few weeks. For more information, please contact Associate Director of Alumni Affairs Tim McKenna at or 919-287-1717.

• May 14 • 7 p.m. Alumni Networking Event, New York, N.Y. • May 22 • 5 p.m. Senior Commencement, Memorial Hall, Chapel Hill

Washington, D.C. • April 23 • 6 p.m. • Madhatter, 1319 Connecticut Ave, NW Charlott • April 30 • 7 p.m. • Charlotte Knights baseball game New York City • May 14 • 7 p.m. • Social Bar, 795 8th Ave between 48th and 49th







remember Kevin Whalen as an affable young man who used to hang out on the couches in the front office EVERY morning before school. He and his friends By Lee Hark, were the gauntlet I ran every Upper School Director morning for a solid year. I and Assistant Head must admit I missed the artist of School blossoming within him. It’s impossible to miss it now. I’ll confess up front that I’m the wrong person to write this article. My previous experience with glassblowing was visiting the Jamestown (Va.) Glasshouse in fourth grade. I remember boredlooking fellows in tricorn hats, long rods with droopy globs of molten glass at the end, some half-hearted twisting and turning of said rods, and … that’s about it. I still have the green juice glass I coerced my mother into buying for me. The glassblowing Kevin is doing puts my juice glass to shame. At a gathering a few months ago, his mother, Anna Whalen — justifiably proud of her son’s artistic accomplishments — showed off a picture of the latest piece he had sold. It was delicate, floral — beautiful. Later that night, I contacted Kevin and arranged to visit him in his studio for a tour and demonstration. I press-ganged photography teacher Harrison Haynes into accompanying me to take photographs. When we arrived at the Whalens’ home, Kevin said a watershed moment in his life we found Kevin waiting for us outside his sunny, well-lit studio, as a glass artist was when he “stopped thinking located in their beautiful garden, now festooned with whimsical of steps to make something and started thinking glass pieces. As our tour began, I asked Kevin about the initial of the end result first” — in essence, he began appeal of this art form. “pulling the shapes out of the glass.” “It was the fluid nature of the glass that ultimately drew

Heart of Glass

Harrison Haynes




TOP: A delicate glass sculpture by Kevin Whalen. BOTTOM: “The piece I'm proudest of is my Chinese Dragon. I made it about five months ago to see where my sculpting skills were.”

me in,” he said. “Being able to create forms from something that seems to mimic both water and stone really felt like magic to me, and the more I worked, the more hypnotized I was.” What followed was a deep dive into the confluence of art and science. If you closed your eyes while listening to Kevin Whalen discuss his work as a glass-blowing artist, you’d think you were in a physics or chemistry lab. In fact, learning glass chemistry is essential. “You have to become so familiar with your material that you have an innate relationship with it,” he said. There are vials of “frit” (granulated glass particles for color mixing), “soda-lime glass” and borosilicates (glass rods enriched with boron.) “American glass rods are the best,” said Kevin. “They have a more reliable coefficient of expansion.” Right. I was ultimately amazed at how much a glassblower needs to know — not only to make the art, but to survive the experience. In fact, I figured out very quickly that glassblowing can be very dangerous business. The kind of glasswork I witnessed in Kevin’s studio is called “lampwork,” which uses a stationary propane torch (or “bench burner”) to heat the glass. The torch pushes oxygen and propane together

to produce a flame hot enough to make it “sticky” or malleable (1500°) or to melt it outright (2500°). Getting the mix right is critical; you add more oxygen for more heat and intensity, and additional propane to “soften” the flame. One of the byproducts of said flame is a significant amount of carbon monoxide. In addition, the metal oxides in the frit release toxic fumes when they’re burned, hence the need for serious venting. Lee: (staring at large vents) “Nice vents. What would happen if you didn’t vent the studio properly?” Kevin: “I would asphyxiate. Put on these goggles.” Lee: “Why?” Kevin: “If you stare directly into the flame, you could go blind.” Lee: “Any other dangers I should know about?” Kevin: “One of my teachers told me, ‘If you don’t like getting burned or the sight of your own blood, don’t be a glass blower.’ ” Aside from those occupational hazards, as with any endeavor worth doing, this

one has its share of poetic vernacular. There are marvers, paddles, reamers, lathes, kilns, tungsten picks and, perhaps most lyrical of all, “hot fingers,” tools that allow Kevin to handle hot glass. Lee: “I think you should name your studio ‘Kevin’s Hot Fingers.’ “ [No response from Kevin. I don’t think he heard me.] For his larger pieces, Kevin can’t use the garage studio (“larger pieces need a larger heating space”), so he also works out of Locally Grown Art, a studio in Pittsboro, and at High Country Glass Studios in Boone. Kevin said a watershed moment in his life as a glass artist was when he “stopped thinking of steps to make something and started thinking of the end result first” — in essence, he began “pulling the shapes out of the glass.” Watching Kevin pull those shapes out of the glass was mesmerizing. As Harrison and I poked around the lab, Kevin formed a delicate fish figurine out of various colored rods. As our time drew to a close, it was becoming apparent to me that I wasn’t actually going to see any glass blowing. Lee: “No actual blowing of glass? What gives?” Kevin: “You only do that with ‘vessel work’ or when you need something to be hollow.”


I tried to hide my disappointment, which disappeared the moment Kevin showed me his collection of … homemade marbles! “There’s a good market for marbles, actually,” said Kevin. “But marble collectors are very finicky. If there are any bubbles in it, they won’t touch it.” Speaking of markets, Kevin has sold several pieces of art, which he generally prices based on the amount of time it takes him to create (He roughly estimates about $15 an hour for labor and supplies.) As with every artistic vocation, finding a balance between one’s aesthetic sensibilities and what the glass-purchasing public demands can be a challenge. “I would definitely say my greatest challenge has been finding a common ground between what’s in demand and what I want to make,” he said. “Often what is most profitable is not what is most challenging or expressive, and finding a way to continue my development as an artist can sometimes be challenging.” For an artist working in such a delicate medium, Kevin is remarkably Zen about the whole thing. “Here’s the nice thing about making things out of glass: When you break something, it’s not a big deal.” As we wrapped up our visit, I poked through a scrap box of former projects and failed pieces — juvenilia, mostly. The pieces weren’t nearly as complex as the fish Kevin had just whipped up in 25 minutes, and it was easy to see the evolution of an artist clearly hitting his stride. Hot fingers, indeed.





Courtesy Derek Rhodes

Derek Rhodes Scores Summer White House Internship and POTUS Photo Op


hen a photo of a Durham Academy alumnus with the President of the United States comes across the Communications Office email inbox, we’ve just got to know more! DA alumnus Derek Rhodes ’11 is a senior at Duke University majoring in Public Policy with double minors in Political Science and Spanish. Last summer, Rhodes was selected to serve in the prestigious and highly competitive White House Internship Program, where he was lucky enough to cross paths and chat with none other than President Obama. We asked Rhodes for a behind-the-scenes description of his VIP encounter and life working at the White House.

RIGHT: DA alumnus and Duke University senior Derek Rhodes was thrilled to serve as an intern at the White House last summer. He even had a surprise photo op with President Obama when the president walked up and joined a conversation Rhodes was having with a few senior staff officials.

was certainly a huge honor to speak with him for a few minutes and for him to offer to take a photo. I was in a conversation with a few senior staff officials backstage after the President’s remarks at a particular event and funnily enough, the President walked up and joined in the conversation! I was waiting for him to tell me to leave, but he really did want to talk and get to know this intern who had been around for a few months. He even offered me some advice.  It was a true honor to see the genuine interest he takes in people.

Q: Describe a typical day. What was the most challenging part of your job? Q: What kind of work did you do over the course of the DR: Interestingly, there was no “typical” day; that is to say internship?   that no single day was similar to another one I had. Certainly the Derek Rhodes: This summer, I worked in the President’s work ethic, the pace of the entire office and caffeine intake were Office of Scheduling and Advance. The office is responsible for constants! I would generally start my morning very early and forming the President’s daily schedule — minute by minute — begin by having a cup of coffee and reading every news article and figuring out all logistics behind those movements. I assisted in nearly every major print news source (I normally skipped the staff by assisting members of the press who wished to travel the opinions pages). We reviewed all requests for the President’s with the President.  appearance. Any time an appearance by the President was During my time, I assisted in vetting new media sources confirmed, we began meeting right away. A day with only three who wished to travel on a particular trip and assisted in figuring meetings this summer was a light day!   out the logistics for getting credentialed press members to and One of the most interesting facets of working at the White from each point of the President’s visit. During my first two House and my department in particular was that we were very weeks on the job, the President traveled to Brussels, Poland and responsive to what was going on in the world. We never knew France, so it was definitely a learning experience right away in when the President would have to go somewhere or what terms of seeing just how complex making these arrangements can meeting would really need to be scheduled prior to another. It be. On the day of an appearance, the team was there to set up and truly does depend on what is going on in the country at that ensure that all logistics, requests and tasks had been executed.  time.  The most challenging part of the job was not always being Q: Tell us the story behind meeting President Obama. It able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The White House looks like maybe you happened to run into him in the hallway?  obviously deals with every major issue going on in the world DR: The photo with the President was not planned, so it and the United States and every move is critiqued. It wasn’t 40



necessarily a bad thing — it certainly seemed to be a motivator for hard work, accuracy and effectiveness. It was mostly the fact that on some days, reading the newspaper was a bit harder than other days. There are so many issues and problems around the world competing for the President’s time or attention. You want to help everyone and you wish that he could go everywhere. Q: Television audiences have watched fictionalized versions of what it’s like to work in the White House thanks to The West Wing or House of Cards. How did reality measure up in comparison to pop culture representations? DR: Although I enjoy every single episode of House of Cards, I must say that The West Wing most closely mirrors what really goes on day to day. The West Wing, I think, does a great job of showing the interconnectedness of all of the different staffers and offices. One really does not work or make decisions without the other. You can really see the President walk around at any time and yes, the rooms are really that small! 





ydney Jeffs ’14 has been named a Baldwin Scholar at Duke

University. The Alice M. Baldwin Scholars Program is a leadership initiative for undergraduate women at Duke, and Jeffs is among

18 first-year women who form the 11th class of Baldwin Scholars. “These young women have the potential to make a

difference,” said Colleen Scott, the program’s director. “Over the

next four years, they will develop their voices, passions and skills

to create change. While their dreams may be just a glimmer of hope now, we expect them to accomplish much at Duke and in their future professions.”

Q: Overall, what was your internship experience like? DR: An unbelievable experience! There was a never a day that I was not amazed by or in awe of the fact that I walked into the White House each day, or that staffers worked tirelessly day in and day out. The Administration, and my supervisor in particular, really valued the work of the interns and were overwhelmingly supportive of us and took a keen interest in our professional development. Q: Do you hope to go into politics or government as a career? If not, what are your plans? DR: I would love to work in (Washington) D.C. in politics someday. The experience at the White House energized me and reassured me that I would very much enjoy a career in public service. I will be applying to law school this fall, but have not ruled out heading straight to work in D.C. There’s a lot of work to do! During his time at Duke, Rhodes has served as student body vice president in Duke Student Government, where he expanded community relations programs and served as a resource for student-led initiatives centered around local city engagement. Following his sophomore year, Rhodes interned at the United States Department of Justice in the Public Affairs Office. Outside of Duke Student Government, Rhodes serves as one of the head managers for the Duke men’s basketball team. In this capacity, he is responsible for assisting in the daily operations of the team and travels with the team throughout the entire season.  

The four-year experience includes academic seminars, a residential living experience and an internship. Jeffs and the other first-year women hail from 11 states and three foreign countries. They were selected from a record pool of 173 applications.

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Stacy Frank and Tyler Wooden ’03 April 5, 2014 • Wilmington, N.C.

Devllen Bullard and Beth Eubanks ’02 April 26, 2014 • Hillsborough, N.C.

Karen Knox and Clayton Bochnovic ’04 June 14, 2014 • Oriental, N.C.


Conrad Gordon and Alexandra Hershey ’01 June 21, 2014 • Chapel Hill, N.C. Lauren Pearson and David Hutchings ’05 June 21, 2014 • Lynchburg, Va.

Kyle Miller and Jennie Cheesborough ’01 Aug. 23, 2014 • Pittsboro, N.C.


Justin Krueger and Kathryn Peters ’09 Sept. 27, 2014 • Asheville, N.C.


Jenn Pavlick and Scott Cunningham ’02 Sept. 27, 2014 • Stone Harbor, N.J.

1. Conrad Gordon and Ali Hershey ’01 2. Karen Knox and Clayton Bochnovic ’04 3. Justin Krueger and Kathryn Peters ’09 4. Kyle Miller and Jennie Cheesborough ’01 5. Tyler Wooden ’03 and Stacy Frank









1. Agnes, daughter of Amy Knowles, Upper School math, and Shea Craig, technology support 2. Aria, daughter of Erika Estrada Boden ’99







3. Charlotte and Owen, children of Susan Knott Easterling ’00 4. Hannah, daughter of Natalie Kaplowitz Hutchinson ’98 5. John, son of Sean Streck ’97


6. Logan, son of Anne Lacy Gialanella ’01 7. Maxwell, son of Molly Shaw ’98

8. Samuel, son of Anna Allen Hershey ’00 9. Teddy, son of Erika Streck Cerwin ’98




10. Eli, son of Ben Mark ’03 and Rebekah Brenner Mark ’03 11. Vaughn, son of Hilary Witzleben Taylor ’97

12. Jack and Lilly Motsinger, children of Sarah Graham Motsinger ’00








in memoriam

• Elizabeth Wright “Libby” Dicconson ’48 died Aug. 20 in Gardnerville, Nev. She grew up in Durham, where she was an active member of the Triangle Hunt, The Debutante Ball Society, Folio Club and St. Philip’s Episcopal Church. She retired to northern Nevada in 1993 with her husband, Douglas Dicconson, who preceded her in death. She is survived by sons, John Dicconson ’76 and Doug Dicconson ’91; daughters Liza Dicconson Cohen ’78 and Edith Dicconson ’89; and five grandchildren. • Virginia “Jinny” Jackson Lee ’58 died Sept. 21 in Durham. She was a talented artist in various media including painting, ceramics, metalwork and photography. Her work was frequently shown in local exhibitions and competitions and received numerous awards. She was preceded in death by her husband, the Honorable Tom Lee, a longtime judge in Durham, and is survived by sons Thomas Lee of Carrboro and David Lee of Durham; brother David Jackson of Chapel Hill; and four grandchildren. • Graeme Kirven ’17 passed away Oct. 24. A sophomore at Durham Academy, he had been a member of the DA family since Preschool and was known to all by his sweet character and witty humor. Graeme was a member of the varsity swim team and was proud of qualifying for the state championship meet earlier this year. His love of adventure and curiosity of other cultures gave him the desire to travel. He had traveled to Canada, Mexico, St. Croix, England and, most recently, to Scotland. He is survived by his parents, Paul Douglas Kirven and Saundra Lee Kirven of Durham, and his brother, Ian Kirven ’15. • Anne Gibson Hill died at her home in Chapel Hill on Nov. 13. She was the widow of George Watts Hill, Sr., and prior to their marriage she taught at Durham Academy. Together they founded the Learning Development Center, a school for children with learning disabilities that now is known as The Hill Center. She was a member of The Chapel of the Cross in Chapel Hill, and also a member of the Up-To-Date Book Club and the Junior League. She is survived by three children from 44


her first marriage, John Hutchison ’73 of Chapel Hill, Anne Adams of Pittsboro and Margaret Hart ’81 of Hickory; and by six grandchildren, including Katharine Hutchison Merritt ’02 of Washington, D.C., Dorothy Hutchison ’04 of Charlotte and Wylie Hutchison ’07 of Raleigh.



• Margaret Tyndall Graham died on Jan. 29, 2014, in Quito, Ecuador. She taught at Durham Academy, was a member of the Altar Guild at the Chapel of the Cross in Chapel Hill, practiced reiki, worked at the summer camp of her childhood, Camp Ton-a-wandah, and continued her lifelong interest in the healing nature of plants. She is survived by her son, Will Graham ’89 of Winston-Salem; her daughter, Cameron Graham Vivanco ’91 of Quito, Ecuador; and four grandchildren.

• Martha Tyson died Dec. 24 in Chapel Hill. She served as Durham Academy’s Middle School librarian for 10 years, where she helped plan a new Middle School library and began the enrichment of the school’s collection of African-American literature. She is survived by her husband, Ruel W. Tyson, Jr.; and sons, David Erich Tyson of Raleigh and Ruel Michael Haywood Tyson ’80 of Durham. • Lois Bryant Hedgepeth died Dec. 25 in Durham. She taught in the public schools and spent 16 years at Durham Academy where she was a first-grade teacher, librarian, Lower School director and Lower School counselor. She was awarded a Sarah Graham Kenan Grant to develop DA’s first grade science curriculum, and in her retirement wrote a book, “Teaching Outisde the Box.” She is survived by her husband of 24 years, Bill Hedgepeth. • Kelsey Colleen Brian ’11 died Jan. 19 in Miami, Fla. She was a senior at the University of Miami, majoring in English with an interest in early childhood education. She came to Durham Academy from Triangle Day School in ninth grade, and was involved in musical theatre, chorus and a cappella. She enjoyed baking, was very supportive of progressive social causes and civil rights, and loved her dogs. Survivors include her parents, Bill Brian and Leigh Brian of Durham, and her brother, Keegan Brian ’12, a junior at Virginia Tech.

• Susan Fox Beischer died Jan. 20 in Durham. She was a member of the Durham Academy board of trustees from 1982 to 1988, and previously served as a board member of the Fox Family Foundation, Durham Arts Council, Foundation for Better Health, Friends of the Duke Art Museum and Hill House Advisory Board. She was very involved with the philanthropic support of Duke University, Duke Medical Center and Duke Cancer Center. She was an active member of Westminster Presbyterian Church, where she previously served as a deacon and taught Sunday school. She was predeceased by her husband of 47 years, George Beischer, and by her brother, Randolph Fox ’70. She is survived by two sons, David Beischer ’85 of Durham and Tom Beischer ’87 of San Francisco, Calif; and five grandchildren, including Will Beischer ’15, Nick Beischer ’17 and Davis Beischer ’20 of Durham.


New Parents of Alumni association reconnects parents to DA and to each other By Dana Lange, DA parent and trustee


can see what’s going

of our closest friendships and

Many had not seen the new

and now you can! A special

to happen to me in about

connections. But they don’t

Learning Commons, and they

Durham Academy Parents of

two years. My daughter will

have to fade away.

were interested in seeing the

Alumni group Facebook page

other improvements on the

has been created. Anyone

instantly become one of

Welcome to the Parents

Durham Academy’s many

of Alumni (POA) association!

Upper School campus. Most

who had a child attend DA,

accomplished alumni and I

DA Parents Council members

were just thrilled to get to see

whether they graduated or

will be left wondering what

created this new group in

old friends who they might

not, is welcome to join this

happened. After the buzz

response to the idea that

have lost touch with.

group. To be included in

and celebration surrounding

parents of alumni might want

commencement fades and our

a more official relationship

group is still in the process

POA events, please send your

family’s focus shifts to college,

with Durham Academy. The

of defining itself – and that’s

current contact information

those of us who stay behind as

mission of the POA is to help

the best part. What it will


our graduates leave the nest

parents of alumni remain

be is completely up to the

Alumni, tell your parents, and

will enter that netherworld

connected to DA and to one

members who are interested

parents, bring your friends!

where we become parents

another, and to reinforce the

in it. At the kickoff event

The POA is evolving and

of DA alumni. We’ll realize

notion of DA as a lifelong

everyone was asked for ideas

wants your input. If you have

our connection to DA has

resource. Parents serving

and suggestions of how

questions or suggestions,

effectively ended.

with me on the POA steering

they would like to utilize DA

please contact Dana Lange at

committee include Theky

as a resource. Suggestions

it out with fellow parents on

Pappas, Margaret Chesson,

for other get togethers,

the sidelines at away games;

Martha King, Kay Peters,

especially when alumni are

cheering for our children

Sara Pottenger and Shelayne

also gathering, were popular,

in Kirby Gym; sitting in the

Sutton. What this group is

along with book clubs and

Association events for

audience watching them sing,

about is fun, not fundraising.

special events just for POA.

volunteer opportunities at

Notices about school events

Those hours sweating

dance and act their hearts out;

The POA was introduced

The Parents of Alumni

e-mail invitations to future

Other ways you can stay connected to DA: • Check out Parents

bringing “hot lunch” or exam

Nov. 8 with a cocktail party

like the spring musical and

snacks; and driving carpool

in the Upper School Learning

sports competitions were

happening on campus at

over and over again, are over.

Commons. We were thrilled to


Those investments of time,

see more than 90 familiar faces

talent and treasure in Durham

who came to discover what

recognizes that people

friends’ kids are up to at

Academy helped forge some

this new group is all about.

just want to stay in touch,

Parents Council also

• Find out what’s

• Find out what your

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


Nearly 200 members of the Durham Academy community, including third-grader Cameron Hunter, right, honored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by packaging meals for Stop Hunger Now on Jan. 19. Preschoolers through Upper Schoolers, family members, faculty and staff helped fill 28,512 plastic bags with rice, dehydrated vegetables, protein powder and vitamins that will be sent to famine stricken areas of the world. This is the sixth year DA has worked with Stop Hunger Now to celebrate Dr. King’s life of service. P H O T O S B Y K A T H Y M c P H E R S O N


The Record (Winter 2015)  

The Record is Durham Academy's biannual magazine.

The Record (Winter 2015)  

The Record is Durham Academy's biannual magazine.