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SUCCESS’ Durham Nativity School administrator and former students share their experiences at the tuition-free middle school for boys  by Amanda Abrams  by Briana Brough



might not notice the boys in French blue dress shirts and striped ties milling about near the sidewalk, or the sign at the intersection with East Trinity Avenue that reads “Durham Nativity School.” But those familiar with the institution say it’s one of the city’s little-known treasures. An independent middle school established in 2002, Durham Nativity School (DNS) has a mission of supporting low-income boys all across the city. Tuition is free, class sizes are small (each grade has roughly 15 students), and service and faith components are woven into the curriculum. Most important, graduates are assisted in applying to

and paying for attendance at private high schools and then college, which the vast majority attends. The school’s tiny size and laserfocused mission created a close community of students, alumni, faculty and staff that they say serves as a supportive second family. Maura Sullivan, director of admissions, who’s been with the school for 14 years: “This is our 15th year. It was started by my father, Joseph Moylan, who was a lover of education. He thought the model was fantastic; it has an extended day and an extended year. This is the first year we’re offering fifth grade. We have very, very high expectations. We hold the boys in high

BACK ROW Durham Nativity School (DNS) students Julian, 13, and Amir, 13, with DNS grad Lateef Mitchell. FRONT ROW Kelvin, 11, Alex, 12, and David, 12, with DNS Director of Admissions Maura Sullivan. 70



April 2017

Durham Magazine April 2017  
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