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R e c o r d • S u m m er • 20 11

Durham Academy T h e M ag a z i n e o f D u r h a m Ac a d e m y

Meet My Hero Sixth graders write stories about their heroes, then create handmade, three-dimensional books

From the Headmaster’s Desk

Les Todd

of kids in fairly animated discussions about what seem to be social interests. There is also likely to be a game of toss and catch with a ball of some sort, lacrosse being the ball of choice in the spring. When you reach the front office, Anna Tabor, the Middle School secretary, is already hard at work sorting through some detail or another. The mood is upbeat and light, whether the issue is the manual ringing of the bells or the logistics of a field trip to the coast. Since my work space is in a conference room directly behind Anna’s desk, all I have to do is leave my door open to invade her world. Perhaps I should give you an example of e are now the dispossessed, or at this “vibe” that I am trying to describe. One day least we may be having feelings like those who last week, through this open door, I heard a fairly actually are. Those of us once housed in the Upper insistent female voice ask the following question: School administration building and the business “Where is Señor? He owes me a pon-ka-ker!” I office have all moved to temporary quarters so understood that a student was looking for David that the campus can be prepared for renovations Glass (sixth grade Spanish teacher who instructs to begin in early June. In fact, we are not actually his students to call him Señor), but I had no dispossessed, since we didn’t own the spaces earthly idea what a pon-ka-ker was or why David we inhabited, and the school has found us all owed one to her. I couldn’t resist beginning a little adequate alternatives to use until the renovations investigation. are complete. But daily life does feel different. The student in question was very well spoken The headmaster’s office is now on the and also claimed to be hungry. It was lunch time, Academy Road campus. The environment is and Señor was nowhere to be found. I surmised entirely pleasant, and not, as some have suggested, that one eats pon-ka-kers, and Señor had offered a gulag for deportees. As part of the overall campus to provide them. Except he wasn’t at this post. I master plan, the Academy Road classrooms decided to accompany the student to Room 203, were renovated a few years ago, and while the in search of the missing Señor. I also wanted to facilities won’t win any awards for architecture, make certain the kid didn’t miss a meal, which is we are fortunate to have highly functional spaces never a good thing, particularly not when you are dedicated to middle grades education. Most in middle school. important is the fact that our Middle School As we rounded the corner and entered faculty is also dedicated to the cause. David’s classroom, I suppose I expected to discover As I arrived on my first day as a temporary chaos, but quite to the contrary, kids were all resident at the Academy Road campus, I was sitting quietly eating their lunches, engaged in quiet struck by the fact that there is an entirely different conversation. But there was no Señor to be seen. vibe than one finds on Ridge Road. (I suppose I felt obligated to announce the obvious: “You all “vibe” is a word from the ’60s, now sadly or seem to be getting along just fine even though Mr. thankfully, out of vogue, but it is the most Glass isn’t around.” “I’m here, I’m here,” came a appropriate descriptor I can muster). There are voice which emanated from some invisible source. several obvious reasons. One is that parents do all Upon further examination, Señor was in his room the driving so the kids arrive earlier. They also are after all. He was on the floor behind a desk, on generally awake, so as you traverse the distance his hands and knees, heating up a skillet on a hot from the back parking lot to the administrative plate while he was stirring a bowl of batter. I was building, you are certain to pass several clusters glad we found him, but I was forced to ask him


what the heck he was doing. “Making Pannkakor. Oh good, you can hear the butter beginning to sizzle. Almost time to start cooking.” At that point, it was clear things were well in hand and sustenance would soon be available. I bumped into Señor later in the day and got a little more history. David told me he discovered Pannkakor after buying a Swedish cookbook. (Always the linguist, he pointed out that Pannkakor, like all nouns in Swedish, is capitalized). According to him the batter is easy to make, can be prepared in advance and, when served with Sylt Lingon (lingonberry preserves) and whipped cream, is a big hit with his advisory. This year’s group favors chocolate chips over the traditional preserves. He has even introduced a new delicacy from the same cookbook this year: Pepparkabor (gingerbread cookies). I went on about my business, and when I returned to my “new office,” I discovered a plate of Pannkakor on my desk. What kind of teacher does this sort of stuff? Mixing up batter at home at night so he can cook Pannkakor for his advisees the next day! You’ve got me, but it isn’t in his contract. And maybe it’s not normal or usual, but after my snack I went outside again and bumped into French teacher Teresa Engebretsen, who was carrying an industrial size baking pan of cupcakes down the walk. So there you go. I managed to get one of those as well, but I had to split it with security guard Tim Leathers. According to developmental psychologist Rebecca Fraser-Thill, “[A]s they enter middle school years, tweens begin to have two needs. One is for increased independence. The other is an increasing need for meaningful interaction with adults who are not their parents.” Hopefully “tweens” will go the way of “vibe” and the language can be rid of two lousy words. But unless I miss my guess, Pannkakor and cupcakes are among the many tangible ways DA Middle Schoolers know they have the adult support they need during their time at the Academy Road campus.

Ed Costello, Headmaster

Durham Academy Record • Summer 2011 • Volume 38 • Number 2

The Magazine of Durham Academy

12 2 Durham Academy

26 14

Front Cover

As part of the language arts curriculum, sixth graders select a hero they know personally; write a story about

3601 Ridge Road their hero’s childhood, life and heroic traits; and then create handmade, three-dimensional books. To learn Durham, NC 27705-5599 more about the hero book project, including this book by Madison Dunk, please see the article on page 18. telephone: 919-493-7363 fax: 919-489-7386 e-mail:


Ed Costello, Headmaster

Leslie Holdsworth,

Director of Development,

Alumni Affairs and Communications

Kathy McPherson,

Associate Director of Communications

Inside Front Cover 2 5 6 10 12 14 18 20 22 24 26 27 28 29 30 31

Photo by Kathy McPherson

From the Headmaster’s Desk Dreams, Possibilities and Creativity: the Solutions Lie within You Scholarships and Recognition for the Class of 2011 Upper School Campus Will Feature New Learning Commons, Renovated Gym Is Studying Chinese Fundamentally Different from Other Languages? It’s Not High School Theater; It’s Theater with High School Students The World in Our Midst: Interviews with Immigrants Life Stories, Creativity Combine in Colorful “Hero” Books A Foundation of Fitness ... and Fun! Saturday Academy Draws a DA Contingent to Durham Nativity School ISLE Senior Projects Focus on Community Service Real-Time Radio Show is “Automatic Fun” for Fourth Graders Hershey Award Winner Margarita Throop From the Green Trustees Welcome Six New Members Tim McKenna is DA’s New Alumni Director Class Notes and Alumni Stories: First-Ever Men’s & Women’s Alumni Soccer Game Oct. 15 •

The Record is published bi-annually Alumni Party Nov. 23 at Alivia’s Bistro • Jonathan Tsipis ’91 Coaches Notre Dame Women’s Basketball by Durham Academy to Final Four • Alumni Weddings • Samantha Everette ’03 Making Big Strides in Design World • Kathy McPherson, Record editor John Pardon ’07 Selected Valedictorian at Princeton University • In Memoriam

Linda Noble, designer Theo Davis Sons Inc., printer

Inside Back Cover Back Cover

Thumbs Up for the Class of 2023 College Choices for the Class of 2011

Durham Academy Record | Summer 2011 |



D u r h a m A c a d e m y


2 0 1 1 C o m m e n c e m e n t E x e r c i s e s

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP left: Members of the Class of 2011 toss their mortar boards into the air after graduation • Co-valedictorian Nathaniel Donahue said, “The ability to be creative and whimsical is what I most value about my Durham Academy experience…” • Co-valedictorian Francesca Tomasi said DA taught students to stretch themselves and consider how they could “tamper with and improve on that which surrounds us.” • Keynote speaker Brian Williams urged graduates, “Push the world further than it has ever been pushed.” • Liz Gustafson, chair of the board of trustees, hands a diploma to Kristie Chan. • Emma Bick poses with her dad, Jim Bick, and grandmother, Katherine Bick. • Derek Rhodes laughs with classmates before commencement. • Lindy Frasher and her advisory group pause for one last photo. • Salutatorian Fred Ward and twin brother Carl Ward with Lee Hark, Upper School director. • The entire Class of 2011 sings “You’ll Be in My Heart.” Photos by Les Todd


Durham Academy Record | Summer 2011 |



D u r h a m A c a d e m y


2 0 1 1 C o m m e n c e m e n t E x e r c i s e s


Dreams, Possibilities and Creativity: the Solutions Lie within You D

By Kathy McPherson, Associate Director of Communications

reams, possibilities and creativity were themes that permeated Durham Academy’s

37th senior commencement June 3 at Memorial Hall on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill. Keynote speaker Brian A. Williams, an expert in multicultural education and an assistant professor at Georgia State University, gave a personal and light-hearted address. Saying his perspective on a lot of things changed when his son, David, was born five years ago, Williams told the seniors he was speaking to them as a parent would to a son or daughter. “I’m going to tell you everything your parents thought but may not have said…the wishes your parents had for you the day you were born.” Fathers, he said, look at their newborns and think “you are valuable, important, a precious treasure to be protected.” Mothers see their babies as “the most beautiful, most talented, most amazing thing in the world, and they are right: you are unique, you are special. Your gifts to our world – you and only you can define your individuality.” Grandparents, family members and friends also were “dreaming for you…for every person there was a dream, a sincere wish for the best life for you, a ‘we expect great things for you.’” Williams asked the 89 seniors to think about what they expert for themselves, and urged them to dream boldly, to “set the bar just a little higher.” He apologized “for the problems we’ve left you — pollution, racism, sexism, poverty, hunger, government corruption,” but vowed “the solutions lie within you. Push the world further than it has ever been pushed.” Speeches by co-valedictorians Nathaniel Donahue and Francesca Tomasi echoed his call to see the world in a different way. Tomorrow’s world needs skills that are fundamentally different than the world needed a century ago, said Nathaniel. “I tend to think that the most important skills we will need are collaboration and especially creativity,” he said. “The world is rapidly progressing without pausing to get permission from the traditional leadership; we need people whose goal is not to lead, but to solve or create.” He praised the Class of 2011 for its shared spirit of capriciousness. “Our whimsy allows us to speak and think freely; we know that as bad a singer or runner [as] we may be, there’s always room for one more, and that there’s no telling who may come through with the breakthrough idea,” said Nathaniel. “The ability to be creative and whimsical is what I most value about my DA experience and what I personally will most miss.” Francesca said at Durham Academy, she and her fellow students have spent years stretching their minds as they have explored mechanisms at work both inside and out of the classroom. “Through projects and discussions, through the gaining of factual knowledge and continued

Durham Academy Record | Summer 2011 |



D u r h a m A c a d e m y


2 0 1 1 C o m m e n c e m e n t E x e r c i s e s


How Teaching Made Me Rich By Gib Fitzpatrick, Math, Middle School

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Graduates line up for a class photo. • New graduate Erin O’Connor with her brothers, one a DA grad and the others DA students. • Nat Luger gets a bit of scoop from Nick Johnson and Katherine Koller. At far left is Tommy McClure.

Photos by Les Todd

the exchange and comparison of ideas we were taught to pose the question, ‘How can we tamper with and improve on that which surrounds us?’ In a way, Durham Academy has instilled in us the idea that the world is like a giant science lab.” At DA, she said, “all of the individuals with me on this stage have worked hard to find something and to contribute, and the process by which they did this was as beautiful as the results that they put out.” And then the Class of 2011 did just that. Rather than feature a few seniors performing with the school chorus, all 89 members of the class sang “You’ll Be in My Heart” by Phil Collins. Soloists were 13 senior members of DA’s XIV Hours a cappella group — Pelham Jacobs, David Sailer, Jack Lee, Kristie Chan, John Plonk, Nat Luger, Michael Drewry, Kelsey Brian, Emma Kimmel, Mariel Murray, Caitlin Whalen, Kristin Sundy and Emma Bick — with seniors Mary Elizabeth Russell on guitar and Hampton Smith on percussion. “The whole thing was the senior class’s idea to do, though I then helped them with the execution of it. They wanted to do it together,” said Upper School music teacher Mike Meyer.


Durham Academy Record | Summer 2011 |

I am a 43-year-old man, and graduations make me cry. Eighth grade and 12th grade are the ones I see every year, but the age doesn’t matter. Happens every single time. Most people would be embarrassed to admit that, but I’m not. For one thing, they always happen in early June, after I’ve been emotionally pummeled by the month of May. Eighteen years ago my mom died on May 26, five days before what would have been her 50th birthday on May 31. Throw in Mother’s Day in the middle of the month, and it’s a tough 31 days. As an eighth grade teacher and coach, I also have to say goodbye to 96 kids with whom I’ve shared most of my time and energy over the previous 10 months. They leave my campus and become different people, but when I see them cross the stage four years later, they’re still 14 years old to me. And I don’t know how much they remember from our time together, but my memories of them are still vivid. As those images come rushing back to me during the ceremony, I can feel the emotion welling up, every year. During one of my mom’s last cogent moments, a few days before cancer finished taking her life, I read her a letter I had written to her. One of the things I said to her was that I had always been ashamed about how I would choke up quickly in emotional situations. Those strong feelings would surface and take me over quickly and unexpectedly. In short, I was sappy, and it had always bothered me. But what I had realized in those last few days of her life was that those strong emotions were a gift she had given me. I told her that every time it happened in the future, I would know it was her way of coming back to me, even if just for a moment. And from then on, I would look forward to those moments, no matter the circumstances. I think that’s why I am still a teacher. I entered this profession thinking that it would be a fun job for a while, but that I’d go to grad school and get a “real” job eventually. That’s what others expected of me — I had graduated at the top of my class, was voted “most likely to succeed,” attended a Top-10 university, etc. At reunions, former classmates would ask me why I was “only a teacher.” You certainly can’t get rich teaching, right? Well, I’ve learned that it depends on your definition of wealth. I can’t imagine any profession more filled with emotional moments than spending workdays with 13- and 14-year-olds. Given the various challenges, tragedies and triumphs that I get to share every day with my students, my mom visits me a lot at school. And by the time graduations roll around, complete with hugs, thank yous and good byes from the kids and their parents, the ceremony brings all of those moments to the surface for me. So when you go to a graduation and see the guy with tears on his cheeks but a big old grin on his face, that’s me. Feeling like the richest man on earth.


D u r h a m A c a d e m y

Scholarships & Recognition At least 37 members of the Class of 2011 have accepted scholarship offers or recognitions: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Ted Arapoglou — National Merit Commended Susie Benson — Merit Scholarship at University of South Carolina Emma Bick — National Merit Commended Lauren Blazing — National Merit Finalist Athletic Scholarship at Duke University Kelsey Brian — National Merit Commended Tanner Caplan — National Merit Finalist National Merit Scholarship at University of Chicago Kristie Chan — Merit Scholarship at Mount Holyoke Catherine Circeo — Merit Scholarship at Furman University Cody Crenshaw — National Merit Commended Michael Cunningham — National Merit Commended Nathaniel Donahue — National Merit Finalist National Merit Corporation Scholarship Evee Erb — Merit Scholarship at Maryland Institute College of Art Zach Erb — National Merit Commended Billy Haas — Athletic Scholarship at Providence College Katherine Hamilton — National Merit Finalist Sarah Elizabeth Hampton — National Merit Commended Robbie Harrell — Merit Scholarship at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management/University of Houston Tre Hunt — National Achievement Finalist National Achievement Scholarship Robert Jackson — National Merit Finalist Ariel Katz — National Merit Commended Alison Kohl — National Merit Finalist Andy Kuo — National Merit Commended Appointment to United States Naval Academy Tyler LaBean — National Merit Commended Cam Lewis — National Merit Commended Eddie Liu — National Merit Finalist Nat Luger — Honors Program at Appalachian State University Will Newman — National Merit Finalist Erin O’Connor — Athletic Scholarship at Duke University Derek Rhodes — National Achievement Outstanding Participant Leah Rocamora — National Merit Commended Mary Sketch — National Merit Commended Ellie Steffens — Merit Scholarship at Mount Holyoke Alessandra Tomasi — National Merit Commended Francesca Tomasi — National Merit Commended Carl Ward — National Merit Commended Fred Ward — National Merit Finalist Rawls Zollicoffer — Merit Scholarship at University of South Carolina


2 0 1 1 C o m m e n c e m e n t E x e r c i s e s

Academic and merit scholarships or recognitions were also offered to the Class of 2010 at the following schools: Allegheny College, Auburn University, Belmont Abbey College, Centre College, University of Chicago, Columbia University, East Carolina University, Eckerd College, Elon University, Goucher College, Guilford College, High Point University, Hope College, University of Illinois, Ithaca College, Kalamazoo College, Kenyon College, Lawrence University, Marquette University, University of Michigan, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Greensboro, Northwestern University, Oberlin College, Saint Louis University, Saint Joseph’s University , Scripps College, Skidmore College, Southern Methodist University, Tulane University, Virginia Tech, Wofford College, Yale University.

Statistics on Class of 2011 • Ninety-seven percent of seniors report that they were admitted to one or more of their top choice colleges. • The 89 students in the Class of 2011 will matriculate to 54 different colleges and universities in 23 states and the United Kingdom. • The Class of 2011 has average best SAT scores of 672 on critical reading, 667 on math and 676 on critical writing, for a combined best of 2015 on a 2400 scale (1339 on a 1600 scale). • Thirty-two students (36%) will attend college in North Carolina (20 at public institutions, 12 at private); 57% stayed in NC in 2010. • Fifty-seven students (64%) will attend college out-of-state: 15 in the Southeast, 10 in the midAtlantic states, 17 in the Northeast, four in the Midwest, 10 in the Southwest/West and one in the United Kingdom. • Ten students were recruited to their respective institutions to play varsity sports (Division 1 and Division 3). • Nine students will enroll at Ivy League institutions, 24 at ACC schools, two in the Big Ten, six in the SEC, one in the Big East and two in the Pac 10. • Two students will attend a women’s college (Mount Holyoke). • One student will attend a university known for its technical program (Georgia Tech). • One student will attend an art/fine arts college (Maryland College of Art). • Two students will enter specialized programs: one in hotel/hospitality services ( University of Houston) and one in a pre-nursing program (Durham Tech).


• One student received an appointment to a military service academy (United States Naval Academy). • Seventeen students will attend small liberal arts colleges (total enrollment under 3,000). • Twenty-one students will attend a flagship public institution. • Twenty-two students will enroll at their singlechoice Early Decision college or university. One or more Durham Academy graduates of the Class of 2011 will attend each of the following institutions: Appalachian State (2), Auburn University, Bowdoin College, Brown University, Bucknell University (2), College of William & Mary, Colorado College, Cornell University (2), Davidson College, Duke University (8), Durham Technical Community College, Elon University (2), Emerson College, Emory University (2), Furman University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Goucher College, Harvard University (4), Maryland Institute College of Art, Middlebury College, Mount Holyoke (2), New York University, North Carolina State University, Princeton University, Providence College, Pennsylvania State University, Oxford College of Emory University, Oberlin College, Pomona College, Rice University, Sewanee: The University of the South, Southern Methodist University, Stanford University (2), Swarthmore College, Tulane University, United States Naval Academy, University of California at Santa Barbara, University of Chicago (2), University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Denver, University of Georgia (2), University of Houston, University of Miami, University of Michigan, UNC-Chapel Hill (12), UNC-Wilmington (4), University of South Carolina (2), University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Vanderbilt University, Wake Forest University, Washington & Lee University (2), Williams College and Yale University.

Commencement Awards • • • • • • • • •

Co-Valedictorians – Nathaniel Donahue and Francesca Tomasi Salutatorian – Fred Ward Elizabeth Adams Old Senior Award – Mary Sketch James Anderson Cole, III Memorial Award – Chris Peterson ’13 Joseph C. Farmer, III Memorial Award – Shan Nagar ’12 Scott Jameson Filston Memorial Award – Sarah Kearney and John Plonk Headmaster’s Award – Tre Hunt and Katherine Koller George Watts Hill Community Service Award – Mary-Gray Southern Frank Hawkins Kenan Award – Andy Kuo

Durham Academy Record | Summer 2011 |


Going, Going, Gone ... and Coming Back Better Upper School Campus Will Feature New Learning Commons, Renovated Gym By Leslie Holdsworth, Director of Development, Alumni Affairs and Communications

t o p r i g h t , E x ter i or v i ew of the new L earn i ng C ommons and ad j o i n i ng adm i n i strat i ve bu i ld i ng : T h e r e n o v a t e d U p p e r School campus will feature an outdoor courtyard with tables and seating. The Learning Commons will be the new center of campus, with a large entry hall that can serve as a meeting space for an entire class at a time. The Upper School administration and the student store will be housed in the Learning Commons. The new commons features nearly 7,000 square feet of space.

The Evergreen Campaign Goal:

Capital Projects: $6.5 million New Learning Commons and Administrative Building Renovation: $2.5 million Renovated Gymnasium and New Athletic Wing: $4 million

b o t t o m r i g h t , Inter i or v i ew of L earn i ng C ommons : The commons will feature 20 iMac work stations, with movable chairs and portable whiteboards, so groups of students can gather and collaborate. The faculty workroom opens to the commons, allowing faculty and students to interact.

Photos by Kathy McPherson

• •

m i d d l e r i g h t , Inter i or v i ew of L earn i ng C ommons entr y hall : T h e e n t r y h a l l w i l l p r o v i d e a w a r m , d r y g a t h e r i n g space on cold, wet days, becoming a hub of activity. The student store opens to the entry hall. The Upper School director, administrative assistant, deans and library staff all will be stationed in the commons building.

ABOVE: Construction crews demolish the Upper School library to make room for a new Learning Commons. The library was built in 1974 when the Upper School campus opened with approximately 150 students, and it has remained untouched until now. The 37-year-old library served as a place for both quiet study and community gathering without the proper technology to meet the needs of the Upper School’s 400 students . When the new commons and adjoining administrative building open in spring 2012, the campus will finally have an indoor hub where students and faculty can gather for purposeful study as well as informal meetings.


Durham Academy Record | Summer 2011 |

Durham Academy Record | Summer 2011 |


Progress to Date: $2 million raised as of June 2011 31 percent of $6.5 million goal clockwise from top right: E x ter i or v i ew of renovated g y m : The second project is a renovation and expansion of the current gym, which was built in 1974 and is woefully outdated. The gym renovations include a new floor, new bleachers on both sides of the court, new lights and air conditioning. The new space will add 8,000 square feet and feature a two-story lobby and hallway, public restrooms, concession area, locker rooms, offices, training room, fitness center and weight room. Inter i or v i ew of new f i tness room : T h e mezzanine of the current gym will be renovated and enclosed to become a fitness room equipped with free weights, aerobic machines and a multi-purpose room that can be used for yoga or other exercise. Inter i or v i ew of two - stor y g y m hallwa y : T h e new gym will have a lobby and hallway with display cases for trophies and memorabilia, and will serve as an interior walkway from the parking lot to the courtyard of the Upper School campus. E x ter i or v i ew of renovated adm i n i strat i ve bu i ld i ng and new entrance canop y : T h e s p a c e t h a t w a s o n c e t h e U p p e r S c h o o l o f f i c e w i l l h o u s e a conference room and college counseling offices, as well as the headmaster’s office suite. Visitors to campus will know they are at the front entrance to the campus by the large entrance canopy, which will also serve as a covered, outdoor gathering space. Inter i or v i ew of new l i brar y : A d e d i c a t e d l i b r a r y s p a c e , w i t h a s m a l l e r and desks for quiet study, will be located at the end of the administrative School lecture room/student commons had been located. Two group-study adjacent to the library. A help desk with library and technology staff will Learning Commons entry hall. 8

Durham Academy Record | Summer 2011 |

collection of bound volumes building where the Upper rooms and a classroom will be sit between the library and the

Timing of Projects: Construction began on the Learning Commons/Administrative Building on June 6. The building should be open for use by spring 2012. The goal is to go straight into construction on the gym next spring, which would avoid having to restage for construction and would result in an estimated cost savings of $85,000. This timing is dependent upon the speed and success of fundraising! Keep an eye on Upper School construction projects via web cam! Durham Academy Record | Summer 2011 |


過而不改是               

學而不思則罔, 思 Is Studying Chinese Fundamentally Different from Other Languages?

 Confucius says,

學而不思則罔,思而不學則怠 xué ér bùsīzé wǎng, sī ér bù xué zé dài

One who learns but does not think, is lost! One who thinks but does not learn, is consumed! Bringing any new academic program out of the ground is an energy intensive process. It takes patience, an institutional commitment, careful planning and the right personnel. Two years ago, Durham Academy took the ambitious step of adding Mandarin Chinese to our Upper School foreign language offerings, and this year we introduced Mandarin Chinese in the Middle School. Each year, we will add additional sections in the Middle and Upper School; the program will culminate in Advanced Placement Chinese Language and Culture. As a result of the program’s growth, it is likely that we will add an additional part-time instructor to teach the Middle School Chinese classes after this year. The recent addition of teacher Joanne Shang has had a singular impact on the success of this program. In addition to being a skilled and dedicated teacher, Joanne presents at conferences around the world, both on her approach to teaching Chinese and on her use of technology in the classroom. When asked what drove her to do this, she said, “There are lots of Chinese teachers starting to teach — lots of native speakers who think they can teach, but they desperately need mentoring. I want to share what I know so we can collectively raise the bar.” I can say from personal experience that sitting in on one of Joanne’s Chinese classes can be a bit uncomfortable for the uninitiated. The classic indicators of student learning are all there, of course: her students are engaged, they have a good rapport with her and they ask good questions. When I visit her

classes, I am in awe of the students and their comprehension of a language that truly looks and sounds “foreign” to my eyes and ears. From my years of high school and college French, I’ve retained a decent accent and enough facility to communicate with French kindergartners. I can usually fake it in Spanish, too, with a smile and an appropriately timed “de nada!” (Which, up until a few months ago, I thought was a suitable answer to “How are you?”) In Chinese, however, there is no faking it for me beyond a feeble “ni hao.”  Confucius says,

學而時習之,不亦說乎? xué ér shí xí zhī, bù yì shuō hū?

Isn’t it joyful to acquire new information while frequently reviewing the prior knowledge. I’ve been wondering if my experience was unique, or if our students brought this same sense of trepidation to their studies of Chinese. Essentially, is the study of Chinese fundamentally different from the other languages we offer? Even more plainly put, is learning Chinese harder than learning traditional Romance languages like French, Spanish and Latin? Joanne doesn’t think so. “I don’t think there is a significant difference,” she said. “There is a certain level of discipline required to learn any language; students can’t take shortcuts, and they must be curious all the time. The mind wants to learn, the mind wants to know. Students have to be open to that if they want to learn any language.” Joanne’s students do seem both disciplined and curious. They evince the kind of esprit de corps that is a result of an intensely collaborative process. They laugh a lot — often at themselves. And they’re making great progress.

亦說乎? 10

Durham Academy Record | Summer 2011 |

One of the assumptions Westerners often make about learning Chinese is that it is simply harder to do because the language is character-based, while English and other Romance languages have their origins in Latin. With Chinese, you can’t even fall back on alphabetic similarities. Joanne feels that in some respects, Chinese could be considered simpler since the bulk of the language is based on root characters that serve as a basis for most of the others: “Once you learn the roots, you can cover a lot of territory,” she claimed. She also finds that the sense that the language is “truly foreign” seems to dissipate after the first few weeks. In addition, Joanne notes that many of the challenges inherent in studying Chinese are the same for any language. For instance, Chinese grammar is as intricate as any other foreign language (but no more so, claims Joanne). Verb tenses like the imperfect and the future complete are difficult grammatical concepts for students to explain in English, let alone a foreign language. Fortunately, as with other languages, these advanced topics come in later years.  Confucius says,

過而不改是謂過矣 guò ér bù gǎi shì wèi guò yǐ

Les Todd

By Lee hark, Upper School Director

To make a real mistake is to leave a mistake uncorrected. Joanne and I also had a chance to set mutual goals for the Chinese program. Obviously, the first step is to establish the full scope and sequence of the curriculum. With a new program like this one, one of the most significant challenges is figuring out how to structure a series of courses that stretches from Middle School to Advanced Placement. Fortunately, Joanne isn’t forced to rely solely



              

AT LEFT: A Chinese language student thinks about the question Joanne Shang has just posed to him in Chinese.

Words of Advice for Would-Be Chinese Students Joanne Shang asked her Upper School students to reflect on the challenges of learning Chinese and what advice they would offer to peers who are interested in taking Chinese. The results:


 “The hardest part is memorizing the

characters.”  “It’s very easy to jump into; there is no

conjugation, which balances out the character challenge.”  “We’ve learned a lot about the culture in addition to the language.”  “Chinese 1 is easier than (Spanish 1) ... although Spanish words are easier to remember because of the similarity to English.” (From a Chinese 1 student who took Spanish 1 before)  “It looks and feels different initially, but soon you discover that the construct of the characters and phrases actually makes sense. They are very logical.”  “Learning the radicals helps identifying the association of other words. They make sense.”  “We’ve learned how to approach it.” (My personal favorite! My goal in growing life-long learners!)  “You get what you put in!” (This one got a round of applause!) — Lee Hark, Upper School Director

學而時習之, 不亦 “I often get to observe the Chinese 2 class, since it takes place in my classroom, and I love hearing the kids talking to each other in Chinese, sometimes singing along with YouTube singers in Chinese. Sometimes they’re making paper lanterns or eating lychee treats. Or they’re checking out the weather in Beijing. They’re learning the language and so much more!” — Edith Keene, Latin teacher and chair of DA’s foreign language department on what she knows intuitively as a teacher and a native speaker. “There are clearly articulated national standards in place for Chinese instruction,” she noted. “I have adjusted our courses to meet those standards.” In terms of the run-up to the AP, the College Board “has done a good job of developing a framework for AP Chinese, and they are constantly challenging themselves to improve the curriculum.” In addition to building a strong foundation in the language and developing a cohort

of proficient speakers and writers, Joanne also hopes to instill an appreciation for Chinese culture. As with all of our foreign language classes, there is a strong cultural component, though perhaps the College Board gives culture a bit more emphasis in its Chinese program. The official name of the AP Chinese course is AP Chinese Language and Culture; the only AP language course where culture is intentionally integrated into the study of the language. We’re currently exploring opportunities for exchange and study abroad programs in China.

Durham Academy Record | Summer 2011 |


It’s Not High School Theater; It’s Theater with High School Students By James Bohanek, Theater, Upper School


his past February, sold-out audiences were astounded by the caliber of the production of Guys and Dolls staged in Kenan Auditorium. Many people told me that they could not believe how professional the production was, from the performances of the cast and the work of the student crew to the design and execution of the sets, lights and costumes. Audience members asked again and again, “How do you do it?” An easy answer, of course, would be “a lot of hard work.” But I believe that the key to the success of the theater program at the Upper School stems from a philosophy I have emphasized since I began directing. We don’t do high school theater; we do theater with high school students. The distinction here is not one of semantics but of philosophy. I refuse to accept the idea that we need to reduce our expectations simply because the cast and crew are high school students. I draw upon years of experience as an actor and director and work alongside a talented team of teachers and designers who also have years of professional experience in their areas of expertise. The students may lack our experience, but they 12

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Photos by Bobbie Ha rdaker

make up for this deficit with passion, energy and, most importantly, a willingness to learn and stretch themselves. Are there limitations to what we do? Certainly. We have neither the time nor the financial resources to do whatever we want on stage. My goal with each production, however, is to make sure we make the most out of the time and money we have. Whatever limitations we face can be overcome with the collective imagination, creativity and commitment of the directors, designers, cast and crew. We work together to bring to life great stories that move audiences intellectually and emotionally. Why shouldn’t we pursue this goal just as seriously and passionately as professionals? With this in mind, there are a few fundamental tenets that encourage professionalism and make the theater program at the Upper School both inviting and rewarding to newcomers and veterans alike. • Set the bar high.

Everyone involved in the productions works hard and commits a large number of hours to the process. Shouldn’t we spend that time working on plays and musicals that challenge us, that elevate us, that demand we invest ourselves fully in the process and that leave us better for having worked on these shows? Several years ago, when I chose

to direct Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia at the Upper School, I heard several people scoff, “You’re doing Arcadia at a high school. What a joke!” The assumption, I imagine, was that such material is too difficult, too challenging for high school students to pull off successfully. I believe such challenging works are too difficult only if you tell the students they are too difficult. Students don’t come into the process with preconceived notions about the plays we choose. They are simply eager to do the best job they can possibly do. Our students are smart, talented, curious and dedicated artists who, year after year, achieve more on stage than they themselves thought possible. By doing so, they learn who they are and what they are capable of. This exploration and self-discovery breeds confidence and pays dividends in the students’ lives regardless of their future involvement in theater or the arts.

• Community is paramount.

The thing I love most about theater is the sense of community people feel when working together toward the greater collective purpose of “putting on a show.” I found this in my high school when I first did theater, I found it as a professional in New York and I find it in the theater community we have created at the Upper School. Achieving this sense of community, however, does not happen by itself — it is cultivated by treating everyone with kindness, compassion and respect and by promoting inclusivity, so students feel comfortable expressing themselves openly and newcomers feel as much a part of the team as the regulars do. When I began working at Durham Academy, my main goal, in fact, was to create an environment of inclusivity that encouraged everyone at the Upper School to audition or join the crew, regardless of their theatrical experience or social standing. Given Left to Right: Eighty-eight the ever-increasing turnout for auditions and the Upper School students participated large number of first-time students (including in the cast, crew and orchestra for seniors) joining the program, this approach is Guys and Dolls, a terrific show clearly working. Nineteen students auditioned for that brought packed houses to Little Shop of Horrors, the first musical I directed at Kenan Auditorium in February. Durham Academy five years ago (only one was an upper-class student new to the theater program). For Guys and Dolls, by contrast, 64 students auditioned, many of whom had never done a musical • Details matter. at the Upper School, A lot of “high school and several of whom theater” suffers from a lack were cast in principal of attention to critical details roles despite their lack needed to tell stories effectively of experience in the on stage. A sampling of online program. Ultimately, video clips from high school there were 88 Upper musicals reveals staging that is School students haphazardly conceived, sometimes wandering or random, who participated in often disconnected from the play’s action. Furthermore, the execution the cast, crew and of the staging is often sloppy and imprecise. It may have energy, but not orchestra, a number representing a focused energy with everyone on the stage working together to tell the more than 20 percent of the Upper School student body. story conceived by the playwright. Every element of a production must These numbers are supported by the comments of the students serve this story, but too often this does not happen in amateur theater who have recently participated in the theater program. At the end of productions. For example, physical movement on stage must not be each production, the entire cast and crew sit in a final circle to reflect extraneous — it must help advance the story. This movement need not upon their shared experience. The most consistent theme from these be complex to be effective. It must, however, be specific to the characters final circles is the sense of community that students treasure about the and situations in the story. It must also be executed with commitment and program. Newcomers talk about how welcome they are made to feel and precision. Many inexperienced actors will settle for “good enough,” not how much they feel like they belong; veterans talk about the impact the adequately focusing on the details of their work unless they are pushed to Durham Academy theater family has made on their lives. Ultimately, do so. Students who have worked with me know that they will often hear this is the most important reason for our success. Students crave a place me say “Do it again” and know not to believe me when I say “Last time.” where they can be free to explore who they are; where they can work By demanding this attention to detail and expecting every single person in with their peers to create something bigger than themselves; and where the production to focus on the details of his or her particular role, we create they can find a corner at the Upper School they can call “home.” The the level of professional polish that audiences have grown accustomed to theater community is indeed a family, and Kenan Auditorium is that expecting from the productions at the Upper School. home. Coming up next year in Kenan Auditorium • Fall Play: Reckless by Craig Lucas (auditions Sept. 6; performances Nov. 3-5) • Musical: West Side Story (auditions Nov. 7-8; performances Feb. 16-18, 2012) Durham Academy Record | Summer 2011 |


The World in Our Midst: Interviews with Immigrants By Tina Bessias, English, Upper School, Carolyn Drewry ’14 and Christen Howlett ’14

Carolyn Drewry ’14

Picture a standard Upper School classroom with students working in groups of two to three. The desks are in clusters around the room and students are talking within their groups and occasionally across the room. “Hey, did you get the sound file off my iPod?” “Yeah, it’s in the public folder on the server. You can edit it and save to the other folder.” “My immigrant hasn’t answered my e-mail. What do I do? ” “Have you fixed the margins on the map widget yet?” “No, we’re going to have to get some help on that.” “Everyone, be sure to follow the template we created!” This was the scene in Ms. Bessias’s World Literature classes in late February. One level of collaboration was visible in the room. Another level was happening online, where groups in two different classes were working together without ever being in the same room at the same time. We were all working together to create a website and an exhibition. We formed six committees to get everything done: • Interview organization • Sound support (downloading files from iPods, helping people edit clips) • Photo support (downloading from 14

cameras, cropping, sizing) • Wiki design (creating template and guidelines to give profiles a unified look) • Documentation and correspondence (thank you notes, descriptions, announcements and invitations) • Reception planning Each committee had members in Ms. Bessias’s two World Literature classes. Sometimes, we easily handed off work from the morning to the afternoon class. Other times, we ended up with competing versions of the same thing (but then we could just take the best of each). Christen Howlett ’14

Every ninth grade student at the Upper School takes World Literature. Reading books such as The Odyssey and Things Fall Apart, we work on developing skills for writing and literary analysis with an added element of cultural education. In this year’s class, a couple of guest speakers helped make the connection between literature, culture and real life. We enjoyed getting away from the typical class format and hearing about cultures from those who live them. We loved connecting and conversing with the speakers on a personal level in a way that we cannot with characters in a book. Our speakers had such similarities to our novels, and it made our reading seem more real. After the visits from our speakers, we wanted to find a way to continue having

Durham Academy Record | Summer 2011 |

interesting and fun discussions about other cultures. Everyone was hungry for more. The idea of a large project involving interviews with immigrants was presented. What evolved was the “The World in our Midst: Interviews with Immigrants” project.

Initial Idea

Tina Bessias

The project started with straightforward goals: • for each student to have the experience of conducting an interview and learning directly about the cross-cultural leaps involved in studying World Literature. • to share at least part of the learning experience of that interview. As the students and I began to design this project, the example of Todd Drake, a Greensboro photographer, was very much in my mind. I had seen his exhibition “Esse

Left and below: Students in Tina Bessias’s World Literature class interviewed immigrants, including several with ties to Durham Academy, and created a wiki about what it is like to leave your home country. Among those interviewed were a DA student who moved from England as a second grader (far left) and another who wears a “sombrero voltiado” from her native Colombia (second from left); Thresiamma O. (above), who cherishes the gold bangles and orange tunic from her native India; Madhu Dev (second from near left), from India, keeps this Hindu praying tablet on her bedside table; Pakis Bessias (near left), who immigrated from Greece, helped prepare students practice their interviewing skills; and DA Spanish teacher Liliana Simon (below) who left Peru at age 24.

Quam Videre: Muslim Self Portraits” at UNC in September. The Latin words of that title are the North Carolina state motto, which means “to be rather than to seem,” and I was intrigued by Todd Drake’s explanation of it: his project was intended to give North Carolina Muslims a chance to reveal something true about themselves, to “speak back” to those who speak about them without personal knowledge. “When I started this project,” I remembered Mr. Drake saying, “I didn’t know any Muslims.” He described a process of getting to know strangers — people of another culture and faith — who were living close at hand. Since my World Lit students were going to be doing something similar, I invited Todd Drake to be the featured speaker at a kickoff event for our project. One evening in January, he came to Kenan Auditorium to share his photos and stories with students and their parents. After his talk, he visited with students in the lobby while

I introduced the immigrant interview project to parents.

Making it Happen

Christen Howlett ’14

After that event, we took our ideas and ran with them. We began by brainstorming a list of possible interviewees. Suggestions included friends, family members, teachers and fellow students. We had more than enough! The challenge for the organizing committee was to assign 27 students to interviewees, taking into account their schedules, personal relationships and interests. We developed a list of general interview questions, which were built on during our individual interviews. Ms. Bessias’ husband, who immigrated from Greece, came to each class to give us practice conducting an interview. He helped us to prepare for spontaneous questions and avoid awkward pauses.

In February, the interviews were conducted. Each one took place outside of class time and was recorded on a school-issued iPod. We usually spent the first few minutes of class talking about the project: “Did any interviews happen yesterday? Who has an appointment to add to the calendar?” Often someone had a story to share, an iPod to turn in or a problem to solve. Then we turned attention to The Odyssey. “What did you mark in Book XVI? Any epic similes?” It wasn’t easy to juggle the project along with our regularly scheduled assignments.

A Digital Product Tina Bessias

From the beginning, we envisioned a wiki as the product of our work. A wiki is a website that is authored by multiple people — in this case, by 27 students and one teacher. We wanted to create a separate “page” for each interview, but it was a challenge to represent them consistently: interviews ranged in length from 15 minutes to an hour-and-a-half, and in some cases they wandered far from the basic questions the students had prepared. Searching for models, I remembered “Portraits of Grief,” the New York Times’ award-winning, brief obituaries that ran for a year after 9-11. They were available online and in our library, and after reading a handful of them, students started to see how they could pick out highlights and include certain core elements to create profiles of “their” immigrants. Working offline at first, they drafted a document, revised it and sought feedback from classmates. When the text of the profile seemed ready for “prime time,” students used a template that the wiki committee had created. They pasted their text into it and eventually added a picture, a map and a sound clip. There were numerous steps involved in preparing each

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component, and no one, student or teacher, was proficient in all of them. Through the committee structure, however, everyone developed an area of expertise and helped classmates as needed. Liz Coleman, the Upper School technology coordinator, played a key supporting role. When the wiki pages had been created, we found that we had a strong skeleton. It was far from an attractive body, however. A “wiki beautification” effort was launched. Students wrote a description of the purpose and the creative team illustrated it with photo collages, improved the site navigation links and generally looked for ways to represent the fun they’d had in the process. They added a decorative and functional element on the front page: a world map with pins showing the geographic origins of the immigrants, each pin linking to the appropriate profile. One of the characteristics of a wiki is that each member can edit every page. That’s a lot of power, and it’s easy to imagine it being wielded insensitively or even maliciously. Close collaboration over a long period, though, works against such behavior, and in this project students were uniformly respectful of each others’ work. They asked permission to change spellings or used the “discussion tab” (another wiki feature) to suggest more substantive revisions. There was no motivation to disrupt a process that students themselves had been so active in creating. Besides, as one student pointed out, “Everyone can see what everyone else is doing. If someone were to destroy a page, it wouldn’t be hard to find them.” The wiki is visible at 16

An Exhibition & Celebration Christen Howlett ’14

Once the wiki site was well under way, a committee began to organize the culminating

What We Learned

Carolyn Drewry ’14

event for this project: an exhibition and celebration in the Lower School’s Brumley Performing Arts Building. The April 3 event brought together students, immigrants, parents, teachers and guests. Student presenters described various elements of the process and showed sample pages from the wiki site. They talked about what they had learned, thanking the immigrants who made it all possible. They also presented a slide show of photos from our interviews, classes and events. The slideshow, created by Magellan Rubin, was set to the World Cup theme song, and it helped create a celebratory mood. After the exhibition, everyone shared food and socialized. The event gave us a wonderful chance to showcase our work and celebrate the role of immigration in our community.

Durham Academy Record | Summer 2011 |

Not only did we educate ourselves about the world around us, but with our website we hope to educate the public as well. This project also allowed us to explore what we and our teacher are really passionate about. Ms. Bessias took on the challenge of basically creating new curriculum in the span of about two months, and we students were open to the new ideas and creating them ourselves. Even though the project kept getting more elaborate, we kept taking on new challenges. Our different skills got to shine since it was not a set curriculum where learning is very structured. It allowed us to see a glimpse of what learning and school could look like — everyone passionate about learning and curious about the world. This experience showed me what it is like to be a leader and a creator, and I really enjoyed it. Christen Howlett ’14

Throughout this experience, I gained an appreciation for everything that goes into creating a project of this magnitude.

Left and below: Immigrants, students, parents, teachers and guests were invited to an exhibition and celebration of the “World in Our Midst: Interviews with Immigrants.” The evening featured a session with Braima, a musician and storyteller from Sierra Leone; remarks by World Literature teacher Tina Bessias; an international dinner and an invitation to sign a banner.

Decision making was an important challenge. There was always a balancing act going on between executive and group decisions. We all wanted everyone’s voice to be heard. However, at some point group discussions become inefficient and executive decisions are necessary. By the end of the project I had a better appreciation for that balance. Other skills I took away from the project were social ones. The idea of interviewing someone

about immigration (a potentially touchy subject) was a bit scary at the beginning. When a student becomes an interviewer, typical social boundaries are blurred. Even the social lines between us, the students and Ms. Bessias shifted. It was unfamiliar territory — disconcerting at times, but educational. I have come out of the project with experience adjusting to changing social roles and being comfortable in unusual social situations.

Christen Howlett ’14 Just as the immigrant interview project was being completed, a national organization called the Independent Curriculum Group (ICG) held a conference at Carolina Friends School. Titled “The Dynamic Dialog: Students as Co-Creators of Schools,” it focused on the idea of students working in conjunction with teachers to create curriculum. Six World Literature students attended that conference with Ms. Bessias. The environment at the conference was electric. We got the chance to talk to students from around the country who were passionate about the same things that we are passionate about. We participated in sessions led by students and teachers, and we presented our own work to an audience. The wiki wasn’t really complete at that point; we had barely finished all the profiles. On the morning of the conference, the World Lit classes were meeting back at DA and editing the wiki while we were attending sessions. It was exciting to open up the site after lunch and see their work minutes before we shared it with others in our presentation. We learned a lot and had a blast doing it! The conference was full of innovative, exciting ideas that showed us how everyone can benefit from students taking charge of their learning.


ne of the mainstays of the World Literature course is Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart. It includes a number of proverbs, among them one that says, “When a man says ‘yes,’ his chi says ‘yes’ also.” Chi is a word from the Ibo language that expresses a kind of divine influence that we might call “fate” or “luck.” The idea in the proverb is that the divine force can be influenced by the human, that a person who seizes opportunities can shape his own fate. That’s just what these students have done. They said “yes!” when I floated the idea of this project, and they’ve continued to say “yes” all the way through it. Their enthusiasm and commitment were the driving forces from beginning to end. I would like to add my thanks to the immigrants who participated. You have enriched the students’ World Literature experience in ways I never could... One of the potential gains in all this is a rich set of conversation starters. I’m confident that many, many conversations will grow out of this work . . . And now we have an opportunity to begin those conversations. The students have prepared some food, and they are eager to introduce family members and immigrants and guests to each other. Instead of a guest book for today’s exhibition, we created a banner that’s on the wall near the food. Please sign it for us — it will be the memento of this experience that we hang in the classroom for the rest of the year. Thank you very much for coming. – excerpted from Tina Bessias’s remarks at April 3 exhibition and celebration of the project “The World in our Midst: Interviews with Immigrants”

Durham Academy Record | Summer 2011 |


Life Stories, Creativity Combine in Colorful “Hero” Books By Julie Williams, Language Arts, Sixth Grade Photos by Patti Donnelly, Language Arts, Sixth Grade


ero: (origin: from Greek ‘heros’) a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. A hero is a champion, someone who fights for a cause, or a being of great strength and courage. Our heroes don’t always wear capes, leap tall buildings, or defeat evil monsters, but they are heroes just the same. Students in the sixth grade language arts classes at Durham Academy know many heroes personally. With the help of their teachers — Patti Donnelly, Marian Saffo-Cogswell, Julie Williams and artist in residence Peg Gignoux — the sixth graders told the stories of their heroes within the pages of handmade books. The assignment was to choose an individual who exhibits the characteristics of a hero and who has had a significant impact on your life. The only rule was that the student must know or have known the individual personally. Students interviewed their hero or someone who knew their hero very well. Then they wrote a story telling about their hero’s childhood, life and heroic traits. A World War II veteran, a fireman, a congressman, a foster parent, a Tar Heel basketball star and a young mother of four battling breast cancer were among their heroes. Madison Dunk chose a child in her church community as her hero. In her book she wrote, “When Heath was nine months old, he was diagnosed with restrictive cardiomyopathy. In other words, he was born with a heart muscle that stiffened. When Heath was 11 months old, he had a heart transplant. One of the reasons that I chose Heath for my hero is that he is an incredibly courageous little boy.” Evan Blackshear-Tvrdy wrote about his aunt, Lemoyne Blackshear, who is a retired Air Force colonel, University of Virginia graduate, architect and civil engineer. Evan wrote, “My aunt has helped me in many ways and has been a lot of fun in my life. She is a great example for me as I grow up and make choices about what path I will take.” Next, with the help of artist in residence Peg Gignoux, students created a handmade books for their stories. They were able to align written expression with visual expression in imaginative three-dimensional books. Distinctive to this book structure was the requirement that students design interactive portals that allow readers to look into the interior “secret rooms” containing their illustrated interpretation of their hero. Workshop sessions included collaborative activities such as painting patterned papers that were used for setting, characters and supporting details of the illustrated pages. Using the visual tool of collage, students incorporated these decorative papers into their pages and covers creating layers of imagery that support the written text. This dynamic book structure invited exciting opportunities to explore basic art principals of composition, texture and unity, as well as complementing the written word. The “secret room” book structure required focused attention to spatial and sequential planning of text and image. The results were magnificent. Students exhibited their books in the board room on May 19 and 20. Parents, teachers, students and many of the students’ personal heroes were in attendance. Our sixth graders were fortunate to work with textile artist Peg Gignoux, who holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Kenyon College and a MID in fibers from North Carolina State University. She enjoys working with diverse populations and has facilitated dozens of large collaborative textile projects for hospitals, schools and libraries in the southeast as well as run a variety of bookmaking workshops. 18

Durham Academy Record | Summer 2011 |

Durham Academy Record | Summer 2011 |


Greg Murray

A Foundation of Fitness … And Fun!


“ itness” at one time was an intimidating term. “No pain, no gain” was the motto. For some, becoming physically fit was a challenge and a goal. For those people, doing pushups and running laps were actually fun. For most, however, those things were an unavoidable means to an end. Physical education got a bad reputation because students were either forced to do boring workouts or they were thrown into sport activities that only a few were skilled enough to really enjoy. The Durham Academy Physical Education Department has blown away that old school attitude. At DA, fitness is synonymous with fun! Costen Irons, a DA graduate and physical education teacher at the Lower School, shares his perspective. “We are constantly seeking ways to enhance our Preschool/Lower School program. . . but the blueprint for our success isn’t complicated: Provide PE class to each child every day with fitness at the core, present a wide variety of activities, emphasize teamwork and sportsmanship constantly, teach fundamentals and measure success upon attitude and effort.” Having a daily physical education program instills an appreciation for a healthy lifestyle. 20

Says Costen, “If our young students see physical fitness as an important part of their lives — and we can keep it fun — nine times out of 10, they will continue to pursue healthy choices as they become adults.” Each class has a cardio-respiratory component. Sometimes that involves running, skipping or galloping while favorite pop songs blast on the sound system; Basic skill development in a but, more vast array of activities becomes often than not, a part of the core curriculum. those cardio sessions are built into the activities themselves. The students are “working out” without realizing that they are working! Eric Block says he loves teaching the children daily because “it allows us to teach a curricular unit in such depth that the students make tremendous improvement.” Eric has, for instance, instituted a month-long yoga unit with Lower Schoolers and insists that “by the end of the unit, even our first graders could go to a local basic yoga class with a parent and be able to participate fully!” Another benefit of seeing the children daily is

Durham Academy Record | Summer 2011 |

Les Todd

By Greg Murray, Chair, Physical Education Department

Medicine balls give eighth grade boys a workout!

that it allows the integration of health education into the curriculum. While the students are taught the basics of nutrition, injury prevention and safety in formal settings, it is not unusual to hear the teachers talk about what muscles are being used in a particular activity or how your heart and lungs are working together to allow you to play longer and more efficiently. Of course, children at DA are bright and energetic, so it is important that the teachers practice what they preach. In agreement with that principle, PE teacher Judy Chandler laughs and admits, “We (the teachers) all love being active and that example comes across loud and clear to the children. We actually are little kids

much-improved scenario over the not-so-distant past. While the fitness component is always a top priority, basic skill development in a vast array of activities becomes part of the core curriculum. Enhancement of skills instills confidence and helps motivate students to pursue a variety of ways to stay fit. The best part is that students are no longer intimidated by strenuous activity. They are actually proud of the Enhancement of skills endurance and instills confidence and helps strength that they motivate students to pursue have developed. a variety of ways to stay fit. Susan Ellis, Middle School PE curriculum coordinator, explains, “Teaching our students how to be fit while building a love and appreciation of participation is our primary responsibility. The Middle School staff has begun a program utilizing ‘Foundation Fitness’ equipment in an effort to stay on the cutting edge of quality physical education. Using the individual, wall-mounted systems, the students are able to Eighth grade girls use a wall-mounted system to develop strength and flexibility. sustain a complete body workout as they exercise against their own body weight. The level of strength and flexibility development has been amazing. . . and the kids love using it!” One day out of the seven-day rotation is dedicated to health education. Middle School students are challenged to truly assess their habits and are taught concrete ways to improve. At the Upper P.E. teacher Eric Block helps first graders School, the emphasis develop their coordination with pickle ball. upon lifetime fitness is continued. As

Greg Murray

Les Todd

in big bodies! Of course, my childlike enthusiasm often leaves remnants from participating the previous day only to remind me that my body is a bit older! I can’t tell you how many times one of us tells the kids that ‘this is my favorite game’ — because it’s true!” Since we want the students to be motivated to continue to pursue an active lifestyle, we still play for the sake of playing! Balls, bats and racquets are still in the storage room, but they are often replaced with noodles, scoops and scooters! Just because fitness is the ultimate goal does not mean that the old favorites cannot produce the

same results. It is incredible how much upper body and core work the students get when propelling themselves across the gym floor while playing a rigorous game of “Star Wars.” The most important element is that all can have success and can participate fully. As students move to the Middle School, they bring with them a love for participation and an appreciation for physical activity. Middle School classes meet six out of every seven school days, a

Upper School counselors and led by peer educators — seniors who have been trained to facilitate discussions. “Self and Community” explores some of the emotional, social and physical dimensions of this age group. As students progress through the upper grades, they can pursue electives that enhance their repertoire of lifetime activities: yoga, Pilates, badminton, ping-pong, golf, croquet, bowling . . . the list is endless! Students are also encouraged to take Beginning Dance with dance teacher Laci McDonald and participate in “A.M. Weights” with Coach Mike Upchurch. Many have pursued expertise in Tae Kwon Do! Our resident Tae Kwon Do expert, Melody Clark, takes time away from her business office responsibilities to teach the discipline, and students have achieved multiple levels of belts. All upperclassmen take a session of “Wellness,” a class that dives into current topics in nutrition, athletic training, first aid, injury prevention and conditioning so that they can gain a more thorough understanding of the importance of a lifetime of healthy choices. The ultimate goal, as it was in the Preschool, is to have students continue to be enthusiastic about physical activity and to be motivated to find a healthy passion. One of the most popular elective choices is “Elementary Games Teaching.” The program comes full circle as Upper School students serve as apprentices in the Preschool and Lower School PE classes. Much like Judy Chandler shared earlier, these students want to relive their childhood by participating with and training the little ones. Whether spotting a third grader on the climbing wall, helping a second grader over the gymnastics horse on the ever-popular obstacle course or simply encouraging a Preschooler with a game of catch with a yarn ball, these students get a chance to instill confidence in a young, eager participant. DA’s physical education program emphasizes fitness through participation in a balanced variety of movement experiences. We want to give all students the opportunity to enhance their quality of life through active living and healthy decisions. Physical education is an integral part of the total education process. Students The best part is that students are no freshmen, they are who participate in regular longer intimidated by strenuous activity. introduced to resistance physical education classes They are actually proud of the endurance training in the weight enjoy enhanced memory and and strength that they have developed. room. Students come learning, better concentration to understand the and increased problem-solving difference between getting tone and building abilities. They are willing to take appropriate risks bulk! Since the track and tennis courts are readily and they have a more positive attitude toward self accessible, individualized options are maximized. and others. Striving for an active, healthy lifestyle Included in the freshman PE curriculum is “Self fosters personal growth and the ability to meet and Community,” a class coordinated by our future challenges. Durham Academy Record | Summer 2011 |


Saturday Academy Draws a DA Contingent to Durham Nativity School By Michele Gutierrez, Diversity Coordinator and Lower School Technology Coordinator


LEFT TO RIGHT: Among the Durham Academy volunteers helping conduct Durham Nativity School’s Saturday Academy are (from left) Elizabeth Allan,

ho wants to go to school on a Saturday morning? That’s what a group of Durham Academy and Hill Center teachers were wondering on a Saturday morning in late March. By 9 a.m. the group, who had gathered in downtown Durham, had its answer: about 50 young men who were hoping to take charge of their education by vying for the few coveted spots at Durham Nativity School. The DA and Hill teachers were there for “Saturday Academy,” an important part of the rigorous admissions process at Durham Nativity School. The school is a tuition-free middle school that is part of the Nativity Miguel Network. Founded by Dr. Joseph Moylan (father of six DA alumni and grandfather of four current students), DNS is a donor-driven school that, according to its mission statement, aims to “educate and empower each child to reach their full potential.” The school makes an 11-year commitment to each boy who is accepted into its program — three years of middle school at DNS, four years of high school and four years of college. Each year about 50 rising sixth graders participate in Saturday Academy. Members of the Durham Academy community plan and 22

teach lessons in math, language arts and physical education; serve as teachers and assistant teachers; and provide snacks for students and teachers on three consecutive Saturdays. If you were to visit DNS during Saturday Academy, you would see many people that you know doing things you don’t normally see them doing. Dennis Cullen (Upper School math) and Elizabeth Allan (first grade) were among the six individuals teaching math this year, while Michelle Rosen (Lower School librarian) and Wendy Nevins (retired LS teaching assistant) were among six teaching language arts. You would also see some familiar faces doing what they do best; DA physical education teachers Eric Block, Costen Irons and Susan Ellis have all taught PE at Saturday Academy. Durham Academy’s connection with Saturday Academy began, oddly enough, after the completion of a school trip. Several years ago, Durham Academy offered a tour for teachers to important sites in the Civil Rights movement. DA teachers traveled to Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia in an attempt to delve deeper into Civil Rights issues. As any trip participant would tell you, the trip was a lifechanging experience. Tour participants wanted

Durham Academy Record | Summer 2011 |

the experience to be more than just six days on a bus; they began asking themselves, “How will we bring this back?” To use the words of Anthony Clay (DA college counselor 2005-09), “People wanted to do something to stay ‘on the bus.’” At a post-tour potluck dinner, tour participants first made the connection to Durham Nativity School. “When the idea of volunteering at Durham Nativity School (DNS) was suggested by DA parent and DNS volunteer Barbara Potter, it seemed like a natural fit for a group of educators,” recalls Anthony. Shauna Saunders (Hill Center) welcomed the opportunity to “reconnect with fellow travelers ‘on the bus,’ to assist in a fine and unique program for boys and to continue building and working in Martin Luther King’s ‘Beloved Community.’” Like many Saturday Academy volunteers, Bonnie Boaz (LS math) started volunteering at DNS because of the Civil Rights tour, but now she “volunteers because it is such a great school and Saturday Academy is such a great experience.” Bonnie says she makes a commitment to support Saturday Academy “because you feel you are helping to shape the

“Meeting these boys who have such goals and dreams for their lives is truly inspirational. It is an honor to play just a small part in their journey to bright futures in education and leadership.” — Elizabeth Allan

Bonnie Boaz, Shauna Saunders (Hill Center), Betsy Foote, Michelle Rosen, Dennis Cullen, Rosemary Nye and Costen Irons.

future of these kids and the future of Durham and the United States. DNS is a truly important school in our community.” Marianne Green (Middle School Spanish) and Rosemary Nye (first grade) did not have the opportunity to go on the Civil Rights tour, but nevertheless are dedicated Saturday Academy volunteers. Rosemary fondly remembers her first day: “It was both impressive and touching to meet these young men. They’d obviously come with one great hope — that of being accepted in a school that could give them a better chance in life.” Marianne found the experience to be professionally and personally rewarding and hopes that many more teachers will become involved with Saturday Academy: “I learned a lot from working with another teacher and from the boys. It’s important to support activities that build relationships between the Durham community at large and DA, and I truly believe that we need to give our boys — because no matter what, they are all ours — more opportunities to succeed and shine.” Saturday Academy is run entirely by volunteers from the Durham Academy community. Every volunteer has become

Photos by Michele Gutierrez

involved with Saturday Academy at DNS through their connection to DA. Rising senior Michael Kontos, Barb Teagarden (former DA parent and spouse of retired US teacher Eric Teagarden), Bes Baldwin (parent and former faculty member), Richard Meyer (third grade), and Willetha Colvin (development office) are just a small sampling of the individuals who have been working together to make this program a success. While there is always room for new people to get involved, several individuals have been volunteering at Saturday Academy for all four years and intend to keep volunteering in the future. “I love to volunteer at Saturday Academy every year,” says Elizabeth Allan. “Meeting these boys who have such goals and dreams for their lives is truly inspirational. It is an honor to play just a small part in their journey to bright futures in education and leadership.” Eric Block agrees: “I volunteer because it is a worthwhile program and I enjoy working with the kids. It reminds me of my days back with Teach for America.” Next March, members of the DA community will head back to Durham Nativity School for the fifth consecutive year. They

will welcome a new group of DNS applicants and have a great time working together on this worthwhile project. Some of the “old gang” will be back and hopefully some new individuals will join the team. The process for coordinating the 2012 Saturday Academy will begin in January. If you would like to be contacted about volunteering for Saturday Academy, send an e-mail to Volunteers are Key to Saturday Academy

Saturday Academy takes place once a year but it lasts for three consecutive Saturdays. Durham Nativity School relies on volunteers for a number of roles in their school. DNS faculty members are present at Saturday Academy for support, observations and running the admissions portion (gathering paperwork, meeting with parents, administrative duties, etc.), but DA volunteers teach the classes and fill out evaluation forms for each prospective student. The entire Durham Nativity School has fewer students than the number of applicants who attend Saturday Academy, so DNS simply would not have enough faculty members to manage all of the parts of Saturday Academy.

Durham Academy Record | Summer 2011 |


Intensive Service Learning Experience ISLE Senior Projects Focus on Community Service

community partners and mentors be? How would a student qualify? Answers to these questions were hammered out last summer, mentors were contacted and the basic plan was adopted. Expectations were clarified so that students choosing this path knew they would be asked to be creative, adaptive and independent. Benefiting the community needed to be integral to the project. The program was announced and welcomed by faculty in the fall. Two projects were successfully implemented in the 2010-11 school year. The Augustine Literacy Skills project continued a partnership with Forest View School by tutoring struggling readers, but in a more intense way: every day for two weeks. Katherine Koller, Tanner Caplan and Taylor Williams chose this ISLE option. In addition to tutoring, they administered and evaluated post-testing for phonemic awareness, word attack, spelling and sight word recognition. The gains measured were remarkable, as much as three grade levels for each of the students in at least one area tested. The twoweek senior project time schedule allowed the DA students to solidify learning in hopes of giving these first graders a head start on second grade. “At the beginning of the year, none of the three Forest View children served by ISLE tutors could read; none heard English spoken outside the classroom; all were anxious and unsure of themselves,” said Literacy Skills

Senior projects, a part of Durham Academy for more than 30 years, take place over two weeks in late May.


Durham Academy Record | Summer 2011 |

Debbie McCarthy


atherine Koller held up a card with the letter ‘A’ on it at Forest View Elementary School and asked first grader Donaldo, “What letter is this?” No response, then some guesses, then fidgeting and failure to engage. Struggling to understand the spoken words in English was hard enough for Donaldo, but the questions were undecipherable to him. The first grader was so frustrated he became sullen and almost surly. Katherine began to patiently employ lessons she had learned in her Literacy Skills class to help Donaldo master the alphabet and the sounds the letters made. Nine months later, the first grader is reading stories and smiling all the time. The Literacy Skills class is a senior elective at Durham Academy that Katherine would ordinarily complete in early May and finish her work with Donaldo. Thanks to a new program through DA senior projects, Katherine could continue her work at Forest View. Last summer several faculty members met to find a way to expand on the skills, knowledge and experience that seniors gain during their years in Upper School by developing senior projects that focused intensely on community service. Senior projects, a part of Durham Academy for more than 30 years, take place over two weeks in late May. Howard Lineberger, Debbie McCarthy, Lee Hark, Becky Georgi and Anne McNamara put their heads together to pilot the Intensive Service Learning Experience (ISLE) program. The Augustine Literacy Skills class and the Environmental Science teachers (Debbie McCarthy and Howard Lineberger) were especially interested in this new approach. A range of questions was considered: What would be required for such a project? How would it differ from the more traditional senior project? Who would the

Kathy McPherson

By Anne McNamara, Community Service Director, Upper School

teacher Debbie McCarthy. “Today all three students grin from ear-to-ear throughout their lessons with Tanner, Katherine and Taylor. And all three are reading books on grade level… with a kind of unabashed delight that is irresistible in these now happy, self-assured first graders. When the post-test scores were computed, it was hard to tell who was more excited, the children or their DA tutors. I am incredibly proud of these conscientious and compassionate seniors. Their inauguration of the ISLE program is the icing on the cake of a remarkable tutoring year.” Forest View first grade team leader Susan Heath put it this way, “It has been amazing to see the growth in these children’s reading skills and especially in their confidence. They are different children. The light bulb has been turned on. I wish we had at least five

Kathy McPherson

Clockwise from TOP LEFT: David Dame-Boyle,

Joe Peterson, Kunal Krishani, Nick Johnson and Alex Davidson prepare a spot for the kiosk they built. • The kiosk will display a poster they created to help park visitors learn about local flora and fauna. • Taylor Williams works with a student at Forest View Elementary School.

Augustine (Literacy Skills) tutors for every first grade class.” Durham Academy senior Taylor Williams noticed how much was accomplished by working together every day, and Katherine Koller said that her student was able to absorb so much more due to the consistent lessons. Seniors who chose the Environmental Science ISLE project worked with the New Hope Corridor Advisory Board to analyze the Sandy Creek Park environment by making trails, identifying fauna and flora and creating informational posters. With the help of the Durham Academy facilities workers and equipment, the seniors constructed a kiosk to display the posters. In addition, they wanted to make the park and its environment more accessible to handicapped visitors. Howard Lineberger, DA faculty advisor for the project, worked closely with John Goebel and Bob Healy of the New Hope Corridor Foundation to create a project that was both needed and within the scope of the DA students. John Goebel said: “This latest project… is to put an informational kiosk at the park, which the students will fill with information they have researched about the

park’s habitats, flora and fauna. This will be a great addition to the park… With Sandy Creek running along the DA property [adjacent to the US athletic fields] and with all the DA kids who use the trail for running and research, it is really wonderful to have DA’s involvement in improving the park.” DA seniors Kunal Krishani, Alex Davidson, Joe Peterson, Nick Johnson and David Dame-Boyle agreed that having the opportunity to put into practice what they learned throughout the year was an excellent culminating experience, and benefitting the community park was especially important to them. The first week was spent researching information about Sandy Creek Park to create the poster that would be displayed. This phase of the project depended heavily on what they had learned in Environmental Science class with Howard Lineberger. It was a lesson about working in a real-world context where the less exciting foundation work must be done thoroughly in order to create a well-designed product. The second week they designed the kiosk that would display a poster to help park visitors learn about local flora and fauna. The kiosk itself was a sizable project which required the help of the DA facilities staff and workshop tools. Students who choose an ISLE senior project can have the assurance that they made a difference by contributing their skills and knowledge to a community need. This pilot program was begun with a small group of very committed and well prepared students. Because it requires a close collaboration of a DA faculty member and a community sponsor, setting the groundwork was done during the year. Interested students can apply through the Upper School’s office of community service, and partnerships with community agencies can be explored. Community service hours can be earned volunteering with an agency and developing a relationship throughout the year prior to doing an ISLE senior project. The Literacy Skills students worked throughout the

year at Forest View tutoring first graders. As for the Sandy Creek project, David Dame-Boyle, a student in the Environmental Science class, explained, “We had already relocated a deserted pipe from Duke’s Buehler Trail to Sandy Creek to allow water flow between the pond and the wetland. Now that the pipe is there, and a path was placed on top of it, the loop path is completed and people no longer have to make a six-foot jump over water to complete their walk.” ISLE senior projects are not limited to Environmental Science or Literacy Skills. Ideas that have been suggested include computer students working with computer faculty to create a class to help residents of nearby retirement homes learn to use Facebook or Skype; art students imagining and creating a mural in a Headstart facility with the guidance of their art teacher and a community partner; an athlete who develops a program to work with kids through the Special Olympics program that DA has been a part of for more than 26 years; and peer educators working with Durham Nativity School faculty to adapt their programs to the age and interests of DNS students. ISLE provides an opportunity to connect student interests and community needs with guidance from DA faculty and a community sponsor. The most critical differences between a traditional senior project and an ISLE senior project are 1) the service orientation of the ISLE project and 2) the partnership of DA faculty, who have a good grasp of the senior students’ knowledge and skills, and the community sponsor, who has a good grasp of the need in their program. This liaison of Durham Academy and the local community is one with long-term benefits for each. Students who are interested in an ISLE project plan for it throughout their senior year, working with a faculty member and developing the community relationship that will be intensified in late May. The ISLE project is not a place to get away; it’s a place to get truly involved and to make a difference in the community.

Students who choose an ISLE senior project can have the assurance that they made a difference by contributing their skills and knowledge to a community need.

Durham Academy Record | Summer 2011 |


By Michelle Rosen, Lower School Librarian

“Kids are on the Radio, Sharing things you need to know Kids are on the radio, The Real-Time Radio Show…” --excerpt from The Real-Time Radio Show Theme Song, written by Lower School Music Teacher Kathy Pause.


and Oscar the Trash Man, who had a dark secret from his past. Of course we can’t forget the friendly Yeti, who pined away on a lonely mountain, hoping to find someone who wasn’t scared of him. The next group of students took their story to the sky on an airship called the ETB-9000 (ETB standing for Eternity Blimp). The blimp, designed and built by main character Albert Whinestine, provided luxury vacations to rich patrons. The inaugural flight featured Albert’s wife and Russian spy, Anya, who was after the blimp’s technical secrets; Mrs. Nagg, the teacher who thought Albert would never amount to anything; a group of businessmen

Photos by Kathy McPherson

Real-Time Radio Show is “Automatic Fun” for Fourth Graders

hat do a Pennsylvania town, a blimp and the moon have in common? All are the settings for a radio show produced by Durham Academy fourth graders dubbed “The Real-Time Radio Show” (Real-Time to denote our use ABOVE: Fourth graders (left) record into the microphone on The Real-Time Radio Show, and Michelle of more modern technology. These students spend Friday Rosen and the club members (center) join hands at their weekly meeting. afternoons creating characters, storylines and recordings that entertain and delight their fellow students, teachers and parents. wanting to invest in the project; and Miss Cal Q. Lation, Albert’s assistant You might be wondering how nine-year-olds could possibly pull off who was secretly in love with the whiny scientist. production of a radio show. The answer lies in a lot of hard work, creativity This year’s students decided the story should take place on the moon and dedication. In fact, students must meet every week if there is any hope in the aptly named town of Craterville. Junkyard residents Bob and Macy use of producing four episodes by the end of the year. But as fourth-grader time-traveling toilets to try to find their missing parents. After finding several Nicholas Fogg puts it, Who would want to do anything else at the end of a clues, the pair travels back to Ancient Rome, Atlantis and finally the Lost long school week? Colony of Roanoke. Along the way they meet a gladiator, mermaids and a “It’s automatic fun,” Nicholas said during a recent club meeting. “It’s friendly robot named Goober. a good way to socialize with your friends, and it’s better than anything else While students have a blast creating characters and scripts, they also you could think of doing at home on Friday afternoon.” realize they are learning valuable skills along the way. Fourth grader Haley The idea for a Lower School radio show began after my daughter, Leversedge says she’s been able to refine her writing skills. Stephanie, was sitting in the back seat of our car listening to “Prairie Home “I’ve learned that you have to think about inside jokes that only people Companion” on the radio. As she listened to Garrison Keillor and his fellow writing with you will understand. You have to think about your audience actors tell a story, she kept laughing at the sound effects that accompanied — what the people listening will understand,” she said. “It’s like painting a the script. I realized that the sound effects attracted young children and picture or something. You have to think about what people will see.” thought that our students might want to create a similar project. Miriam Donovan said the recording process has helped her diction and Now it was time to consult a team of experts — from music to enunciation. “I’ve learned to speak with more expression and not just ramble technology — so I asked Lower School music teacher Kathy Pause, on about what I’m reading.” computer teacher Michele Gutierrez and webmaster Anne Benson to help Fellow club member Dianne Kim agreed. “I’ve learned that whenever I brainstorm how to put together the show. Shortly after Kathy Pause wrote read my voice goes lower toward the end of my sentence. I’ve learned not to a theme song, Michele Gutierrez recommended appropriate technology do that anymore.” (iPods) and Anne Benson gave advice on how to broadcast the show to the Students have also gleaned many valuable lessons about group masses (on our website, We were ready! dynamics, as they have to break into groups to write different parts of the During the first year of production, our show contained a variety of script for each episode. “I know that I can’t just take what’s on the top of my material — stories, poems, songs, as well as reports about special events head and write it down,” said Imani Spence. “I have to talk to the others in at Durham Academy. The second year, however, students decided they my group and decide on the best idea.” wanted each 10-minute episode to focus more on storytelling. They wanted Beau Townsend added: “I’ve learned a lot about working in a group. If to create a cast of characters and develop them throughout the year in you work cooperatively in a group you can write a good story.” a serial-type program. This is how we’ve run Real-Time Radio Show ever While all of these things are important, the best part about The Realsince. Time Radio Show (in this teacher’s opinion) is the bond that is formed Mt. Chillax (where you can “chill’ and relax”) was the scene of the first among the students. By mid-year it begins to feel like a family — we laugh, we serial. Here, Robert Rogan and his wife, Rachel, operated a hotel called debate and we create together. That’s what the Lower School is all about. President’s Place. Mt. Chillax was home to a cast of characters including To listen to episodes of The Real-Time Radio Show, please visit the Rogan, who was an obsessive-compulsive cleaner; Babs, his dramatic Lower School page on and click on the icon on the right. Episodes teenage daughter; Mayor Fore Getful, who could never remember anything; now stream directly from the website. 26

Durham Academy Record | Summer 2011 |

Her Students Absolutely Know They Are in the Best of Hands A By Jim McGivney, Math, Middle School

n excellent teacher, a quiet leader, a supportive colleague and a warm and compassionate human being, Margarita Throop has distinguished herself in her 20 years of service at Durham Academy. Through her hard work and dedication, her teaching has enriched a generation of students. From her work in her Advanced Placement Spanish courses to her leadership of the foreign language department to her work in the AFS program, she has been a warm and caring member of the Upper School community. She truly deserves to be the 2011 recipient of the F. Robertson Hershey Distinguished Faculty Award. In her role as the teacher of AP Spanish Literature and AP Spanish Language, Margarita brings an energy and commitment to her classroom every day. She asks nothing less than the very best from her students, and they in turn love her for her efforts. “Margarita personally cares about the success of every one of her students,” explained one of her colleagues. She is acutely aware of each student’s strengths and encourages her or him to be independent learners. She has that wonderful ability to work with all of her students no matter what ability level they might have in Spanish. Another colleague added, “Margarita is a star teacher. She is creative, she loves ideas and she is a true intellectual. She has been a great resource for her students and her fellow faculty members.” A good friend added, “Her students absolutely know they are in the best of hands.” One of her former students took both of Margarita’s AP courses while at DA. When she went to college and enrolled in a Spanish class, the student’s professor told her, “You are the best prepared student I have had in all my teaching years at this university.” What a wonderful testimonial to Margarita’s dedication, hard work and caring attitude. Margarita also teaches a Spanish I class. One of her colleagues said, “She is the most wonderful Spanish I teacher. Her class is full of energy and invention.” She plans each day meticulously, down to the minute, so that the class flows effortlessly. Her creative use of lesson plans provides all kinds of learners in her room the opportunity to learn in their own way and to be successful. Her students fully appreciate all the hard work that she puts in each day. “To me it’s that Mrs. Throop always wants to make class fun, and that is what so many other teachers forget. That is the difference,” said one of her students. In addition to her work in the classroom, Margarita has run the AFS program here at Durham Academy for many years. She puts a tremendous amount of time and effort into making sure that each international student has a positive and enriching year at Durham Academy. Having had the experience of living in Argentina for many

Les Todd

Hershey Award Winner Margarita Throop

ABOVE: Hershey Award winner Margarita Throop laughs with students in her Spanish class.

years at a young age, she truly understands what it feels like to experience another culture. She provides the thoughtful, caring support that each AFS student needs. From the acclimation to a new language, to the myriad of social challenges, to just plain missing home, Margarita is there each day to answer questions, offer support and be that shining light to all the AFS students. She has shown unparalleled commitment to the program. In keeping with her strong interest in diversity, Margarita has taken the lead in organizing the International Day on the Upper School campus. Some years ago, DA students came up with the idea for a day to celebrate other cultures. Margarita enthusiastically stepped in to help as the club sponsor. She put in countless hours of careful planning, perseverance and just plain hard work. This sprang from her belief that having knowledge of other cultures is an important piece in the development of a wellrounded student. On International Day each spring, all the students enjoyed educational sessions and other programs meant to broaden their understanding of other cultures. The centerpiece of the day was a lunch that included many tasty international foods. She has also volunteered for the past decade with the Amigos de Hope Valley Program. Young Latino students come to the DA campus every Saturday and are tutored by a group of Upper School students. This program ties in to Margarita’s love of teaching. She mentors the DA students as they prepare to work with the children each week. What a wonderful gift to pass on from one teacher to another. As the liaison between DA and the parents of the students, she spends countless hours answering parent questions, offering encouragement and giving advice. She is a shining example of the outreach that the program offers to the local community. Margarita, husband Michael and daughter Beth love to travel. They have led multiple trips to Japan as part of the Sister Cities program. In her free time she is an avid runner and a lover of the theater. She was winner of the Brumley Excellence in Teaching Award in the 1999-2000 school year. Students, parents, colleagues and friends appreciate Margarita’s hard work and dedication, her gentle manner and her kind spirit. One of her students said, “The difference between Mrs. Throop and other teachers I have had is that she remembers what it was like to be a student. That quality is so rare.” Editor’s note: Jim McGivney was the 2010 recipient of the F. Robertson Hershey Distinguished Faculty Award. Durham Academy Record | Summer 2011 |


From the Green A cappella group auditions for NBC’s “The Sing-Off”

The Upper School’s auditioned a cappella group, XIV Hours, was invited to audition for season three of the NBC show “The Sing-Off.” The group traveled to Nashville, TN, on May 14 for the audition. If selected for the show, tapings will be in Los Angeles over the summer, with airdates in the fall or winter. As 13 of the current members of the group are graduating seniors, that means a whole lot of changes over the summer if XIV Hours is selected! In addition to the audition, XIV performed a 30-minute concert at the Nashville Hard Rock Cafe. Members of XIV Hours are Jared Anderson ’12, Emma Bick ’11, Kelsey Brian ’11, Kristie Chan ’11, Michael Drewry ’11, Elizabeth Eason ’13, Pelham Jacobs ’11, Jarrod Jenzano (faculty), Emma Kimmel ’11, Jack Lee ’11, Nat Luger ’11, Michael Meyer (faculty), Mariel Murray ’11, Shan Nagar ’12, John Plonk ’11, David Sailer ’11, Kristin Sundy ’11 and Caitlin Whalen ’11.

Jordan Baker awarded scholarship for summer study in China

Rising senior Jordan Baker has been awarded a merit-based scholarship to attend the U.S. Department of State’s National Security Language Initiative for Youth this summer. Jordan will travel to Beijing, China, and participate in the program, based at the Beijing Camford Royal School, from late June until mid-August. The National Security Language Initiative for Youth provides an opportunity to increase Chinese language skills through language classes and experiential learning. Participants have intensive Mandarin Chinese language instruction for approximately 20 hours per week. Experiential learning includes cultural activities and volunteer work. Participants live in dormitories with Chinese roommates during the week (Monday to Thursday) and with volunteer host families on weekends (Friday to Sunday), both of which provide a deeper understanding of Chinese society and family and teen life in China. This is the third time Jordan Baker has been awarded a scholarship for study abroad. Jordan was among 100 high school students selected for a two-week exchange program sponsored by the South Korean government in August 2010. She spent the 2009-10 school year in Germany on a fully paid, merit-based scholarship that is part of a U.S.-German exchange program.


Four selected for Governor’s School to study dance, art, English and French

Four Durham Academy rising seniors have been selected for the 2011 session of the Governor’s School of North Carolina. They are Katie Baker for dance, Sarah Lerner for art, Sarah Molina for English and Julianna Ruben for French. The Governor’s School of North Carolina is a six-week, summer residential program for intellectually gifted high school students, integrating academic disciplines, the arts and unique courses. The curriculum focuses on the exploration of the most recent ideas and concepts in each discipline, and does not involve credit, tests, or grades. Governor’s School is the oldest statewide summer residential program for academically or intellectually gifted high school students in the nation. It serves a maximum of 800 students per summer.

Science teacher Howard Lineberger wins $5,000 national award

Durham Academy gave Upper School science teacher Howard Lineberger a sabbatical this year to write a curriculum on Mars education, and the resulting curriculum has earned a national award. The grand prize winner of the Mars Education Challenge, Howard Lineberger was presented a $5,000 check on March 10 at the National Science Teachers Association Conference in San Francisco. The award was presented by Bill Nye the Science Guy, executive director of the Planetary Society. Lineberger has been using portions of the Mars curriculum in his geosciences classes at Durham Academy. DA students study and analyze remote sensing data sets from Mars and present their findings to the applied physics laboratories at Johns Hopkins University. Elements of the Mars curriculum also have been part of Mars Outreach for NC Students (MONS), a tuition-free program Lineberger has led since 2007 for students at Durham Academy and area public schools. Using data from the Spirit rover and spacecraft orbiting Mars, students in the MONS program examine the geologic history of the rocks and soil on Mars. “They do things a lot of college students don’t do,” said Lineberger. MONS students participate in the ongoing research of Dr. Jeff Moersch, professor at the University of Tennessee and member of the Mars Exploration Rover and the Thermal Emission Imaging System science teams.

Durham Academy Record | Summer 2011 |

The Mars Education Challenge encouraged science educators to develop innovative curricula materials that would get Mars-related science technology into the classroom. DA’s Howard Lineberger had a head-start on the competition!

Fourth graders take first, second place in statewide poster contest

Durham Academy fourth graders took first and second place in the NC Water Conservation Poster Contest. Shaylen Atma won first place and Sarah Kim won second place in the statewide competition for students in grades three through five. They also were award-winners in the city of Durham poster contest, with Sarah placing second and Shaylen placing third. The fourth graders created their posters as part of their study of water conservation with Lyn Streck, Lower School science teacher. DA first grader Mukta Dharmapurikar won first place in Durham’s poster contest for the kindergarten-second grade. Her poster was created independently rather than through the LS science program.

Ranier Rubin creates “Cavalier Profiles”

Rising senior Ranier Rubin, a talented videographer new to Durham Academy in 2010-11, has been celebrating the accomplishments of his fellow students. Ranier has been focusing his video camera on different Upper School students, keeping his subject a secret until the carefully edited video is shown at an Upper School morning meeting. To date he has featured rising sophomore Kimari Jones, a fencer; rising senior Alex Hall, a basketball player; and rising senior Maria Young-Jones, a musician and songwriter. The profiles Ranier has created can be viewed on Have a suggestion for a profile? E-mail cavalier_profiles@ “Last year I took a film class at my school in California. Having never done any serious video production before I was intrigued by the idea and interested in seeing where it would take me,” writes Ranier. “Since then I have been working with videos and have filmed multiple videos for fun. When we moved to Chapel Hill in August I thought it would be cool to create videos for the school, and I hoped that somehow I could make an impact on the community. I decided to start Cavalier Profiles because it seemed like a cool idea to me, and I thought it would also be interesting for the community to see what students are doing outside of academics.”

Trustees Welcome Six New Members The Durham Academy Board of Trustees welcomes six new members: Michelle Beischer, Isaac Green, Frank Morgan, Laura Virkler ’91, Bennet Waters and Lauren Whitehurst. • Michelle Beischer is a graduate of Smith • Laura Horton Virkler ’91 is a graduate College and Wake Forest University School of Durham Academy and Wake Forest of Law, and has practiced law in Durham. University. She has been a senior consultant She is president of Parents Association, and at Accenture, and now runs Pleasant Green has served as secretary of Parents Council, Farm and Stable, a boarding stable and beef Lower School division representative, cocattle operation, and also is a real estate chair of the tuition raffle, a member of the agent representing Pleasant Green Farms Benefit Auction committee, an Academy community development. She is a member Laura Horton Virkler ’91 Michelle Beischer Nights volunteer, co-chair of the New Book of the DA Alumni Council, co-chair of the Sale, a room parent and a new family mentor. She is the mother of Will, All-School Picnic for the third consecutive year and a new family mentor. a rising ninth grader; Nick, a rising seventh grader; and Davis, a rising She is the mother of Ella, a rising fourth grader; Sumner, a rising first fourth grader. grader; and Henry, age four. • Isaac H. Green is a graduate of Duke

University, holds an MBA in finance and business economics from Columbia University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst. He is the founder of Piedmont Investment Advisors, LLC, where he is president, CEO and chief investment officer, as well as portfolio manager for Isaac H. Green its flagship product. He has served on the board of directors of the North Carolina Society of Chartered Financial Analysts. He is the father of Zack, an NC School of Science and Math graduate and rising sophomore at Duke University, and Anica, a rising junior at DA. • Frank Morgan is a graduate of the

University of Maryland. Before moving to the Durham area, he was an executive producer in the business of television commercial, 35mm film, video and animation production in Baltimore, MD. He is chair of the DA Annual Fund and a member of the Development Committee, Frank Morgan and has served as Parent Gift Club Chair and Middle School Director Search Parent Interview Committee Chair. He served four years as co-chair of the Holiday Greenery fund raiser. He is the father of Helen, a rising ninth grader.

• Bennet Waters is a graduate of Davidson

College and holds a master’s of public health from Boston University and a doctorate of health administration from the Medical University of South Carolina. He served four years as counselor to the deputy secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and is managing director and chief operating Bennet Waters officer, The Chertoff Group, Washington, D.C., and clinical assistant professor, Gillings School of Global Public Health, UNC-Chapel Hill. He is a member of DA’s Learning Environment Committee, and is the father of Talbot, a rising second grader; Anne B., a rising first grader; and Mathille, age two-and-a-half. • Lauren Neumer Whitehurst is a

graduate of Amherst College and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. Before moving to Durham she worked with Boston Consulting Group in client service and practice area management. She has been executive director of the Center for Consulting Excellence at Duke/Fuqua Lauren Neumer Whitehurst Business School and will be a visiting professor in markets and management at Duke. At DA, she has been an active classroom volunteer and a new family mentor. She is the mother of twins Emma and Jack, rising fourth graders.

Durham Academy Record | Summer 2011 |


im McKenna has joined Durham Academy as associate director of alumni affairs. He has a background in alumni work, and has been part of the DA community for five years as head coach for varsity boys basketball. In addition, Tim is the father of DA students Marlee, a rising fourth grader, and Drew, a rising kindergartner. Tim comes to Durham Academy from The Hill Center, where he has served as associate director of marketing and communications for the last seven years. Prior to that, he was director of alumni relations and admissions at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Olney, MD, for eight years. Tim holds a bachelor of science in marketing from Providence College. “The search for DA’s new alumni director attracted a very strong pool of candidates from peer schools in North Carolina and across

Kathy McPherson

Tim McKenna is DA’s New Alumni Director T

the country,” said Headmaster Ed Costello. “I’m excited about the experience and energy Tim brings to the position, and I look forward to him developing relationships with our alumni and advancing our alumni program.” “I want to get alumni excited about all the great things that are happening at Durham Academy,” said Tim. “I want to attract alumni back to campus through homecoming, reunions and other activities, and I am already organizing regional gatherings in several cities on the East Coast and in North Carolina.”

ABOVE: DA Alumni president Rob Everett ’86 and vice president Jamie Krzyzewski Spatola ’00 welcome Tim McKenna (center), DA’s new associate director of alumni affairs.

Varsity Athletic Events

Alumni Soccer Games


Save Date Fall Alumni Weekend October 14 + 15, 2011 Reunion Class Parties ’76, ’81, ’86, ’91, ’96, ’01, ’06

for more information visit

Homecoming and Family Picnic


Durham Academy Record | Summer 2011 |

Reunion Class Parties

Thumbs Up for the Class of 2023 These two young students celebrate their “graduation” from Preschool and move on to first grade after a wonderful year in Leigh Ballou and Deb Shadduck’s kindergarten class. Photo by Kathy McPherson

D urham A cademy 3601 Ridge Road Durham, NC 27705-5599

Nonprofit Organization U.S. Postage Paid Durham, NC 27701 Permit #1083

College Choices for the Class of 2011

ABOVE: After a class photo on the steps of UNC’s South Building, members of Durham Academy’s Class of 2011 head to Memorial Hall for DA’s 37th annual commencement exercises. Photos by Les Todd

• Ted Arapoglou...................University of Michigan • Alex Aziz..................................UNC-Wilmington • Susie Benson. ......................University of South Carolina • Emma Bick...........................Williams College • Lauren Blazing....................Duke University • James Box..............................Royal Holloway University of London • Kelsey Brian..........................University of Miami • John Bush..............................Duke University • Alejandro Buxó...................Pennsylvania State University • Tanner Caplan....................University of Chicago • Kristie Chan..........................Mount Holyoke College • Catherine Circeo................Furman University • Taylor Circeo.......................University of Colorado-Boulder • Katie Corey...........................Duke University • Mary Ellen Costello..........Appalachian State University • Cody Crenshaw..................UNC-Chapel Hill • Michael Cunningham.....Middlebury College • David Dame-Boyle...........Duke University • Mary D’Amico....................Duke University • Alex Davidson.....................UNC-Wilmington • Nathaniel Donahue.........Harvard University • Michael Drewry..................Rice University • Grant Engebretsen...........University of Tennessee Knoxville • Evee Erb..................................Maryland Institute College of Art • Zach Erb.................................Oxford College of Emory University • Tommy Grigg......................Bucknell University • Billy Haas...............................Providence College • Katherine Hamilton.........Swarthmore College

• SB Hampton.......................Washington and Lee University • Robbie Harrell....................University of Houston • Alexis Hewitt........................University of Georgia • Sarah Hey..............................UNC-Chapel Hill • Tre Hunt. ...............................Harvard University • Robert Jackson...................Stanford University • Pelham Jacobs....................Emerson College • Audrey Jaquiss....................Pomona College • Nick Johnson.......................UNC-Wilmington • Elizabeth Jones...................University of Denver • Ariel Katz................................Yale University • Sarah Kearney.....................UNC-Chapel Hill • Laura Khatambakhsh.....Durham Technical Community College • Emma Kimmel....................Oberlin College • Andrew King........................UNC-Wilmington • Kunal Kishnani...................Elon University • Alison Kohl...........................Stanford University • Katherine Koller.................UNC-Chapel Hill • Andy Kuo...............................United States Naval Academy • Tyler LaBean........................Georgia Institute of Technology • Jack Lee...................................Vanderbilt University • Cam Lewis. ...........................Washington and Lee University • Eddie Liu................................Duke University • Nat Luger...............................Appalachian State University • Tommy McClure...............Sewanee: The University of the South • Patrick Milano....................Emory University • Deegan Mundy. .................University of Georgia • Claire Murray......................UNC-Chapel Hill • Mariel Murray.....................UNC-Chapel Hill • Will Newman......................Davidson College

• Erin O’Connor....................Duke University • Chloe Paterson...................UNC-Chapel Hill • Luke Paulson.......................Colorado College • Joe Peterson.........................University of California Santa Barbara • John Plonk. ...........................Princeton University • Paige Reeves.........................UNC-Chapel Hill • Derek Rhodes......................Duke University • Leah Rocamora.................New York University • Andrew Rose.......................Wake Forest University • Mary Elizabeth Russell.....UNC-Chapel Hill • David Sailer..........................UNC-Chapel Hill • Andy Scott............................Southern Methodist University • Michael Shadduck. ..........North Carolina State University • Mary Sketch.........................Brown University • Harrison Slomianyj..........Goucher College • Hampton Smith................Elon University • Mary-Gray Southern. ......College of William and Mary • Ellie Steffens.........................Mount Holyoke College • Kate Strauman...................Tulane University • Kristin Sundy. ......................Bucknell University • Grant Sutton.......................UNC-Chapel Hill • Ale Tomasi............................Cornell University • Francesca Tomasi.............University of Chicago • Will Townsend. ..................Auburn University • Carl Ward. ............................Harvard University • Fred Ward.............................Harvard University • Caitlin Whalen. ..................Bowdoin College • Taylor Williams..................Emory University • Erica Zenn.............................Cornell University • Rawls Zollicoffer................University of South Carolina • Olivia Zvara..........................UNC-Chapel Hill

The Record - Summer 2011  

Durham Academy's magazine

The Record - Summer 2011  

Durham Academy's magazine