If the wintry weather kept your family cooped up inside for far too long and you’re looking for out-of-the-house activities to occupy the three-day weekend ahead, look no farther than the Durham Academy calendar. Over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, DA will play host to Preschool/Lower School Night at the CavDome; the Cavalier Invitational Debate Tournament; In The Pocket’s Nicaragua Benefit Concert; DA’s annual MLK Day of Service meal-packaging effort; and a book-signing with alumnus Derek Rhodes ’11.
Preschool/Lower School Night at the CavDome
Friday, 6:15 p.m. (Kirby Gym, Upper School)
Kirby Gym is rarely more electric than when our youngest students show up in force to cheer on the Cavs, and this year’s Preschool/Lower School Night at the CavDome promises to be as thrilling as ever.
Friday’s excitement centers around basketball matchups vs. Cary Academy, with the varsity girls game tipping off at 6:15 p.m., and the varsity boys game beginning at 7:45 p.m.; fans are also encouraged to come early to cheer on the JV girls team at 3:45 p.m. and JV boys at 5 p.m. Special CavDome activities are scheduled for halftime of the varsity girls game (door prizes) and varsity boys game (a fun student contest). Preschool and Lower School families are asked to check in at the concession stand upon arrival.
It’s a fun event for both “the big kids and the little kids” — and parents, too, Athletic Director Steve Engebretsen said.
“It gives our youngest students a chance to see the high school athletes play, and they see that we’re all one big school,” he explained. “It’s a lot of fun, a lot of people, and a lot of noise.”
Cavalier Invitational Debate Tournament
Saturday, 9 a.m. through evening (Lower School, Upper School and Hill Center campuses)
Sunday, 8 a.m. through afternoon
No less heart-pumping will be the weekend’s other big competition, the second-annual Cavalier Invitational — where competitors will don suits rather than jerseys, and the battlefield moves from the basketball court to the speech and debate stage.
“Coming to watch speech and debate is a chance to see a different spectator sport while learning at the same time,” explained Crawford Leavoy, director of DA’s speech and debate program. “Our tournament features students from all over the Mid-Atlantic who are coming to share their voices in a powerful way.”
Competing in the Cavalier Invitational will be 251 students traveling with 24 schools from all over the East Coast.
“You’ll find students debating questions that face our world like whether public universities should allow constitutionally protected speech, or whether we should increase military spending in order to solve international conflicts,” Leavoy said. “You’ll also find students who have written original works on topics that are important to them. You’ll find students who are performing complete works of drama by themselves in 10 minutes. There’s a range of activities, and no matter what is going on — young people are finding their voice in the world.”
Tournament events will be held around the Upper School, Lower School and Hill Center campuses. All visitors are asked to check in with Leavoy in the Upper School Learning Commons faculty lounge.
Rounds begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday and follow a set schedule, going into Sunday morning. Elimination rounds are set to begin around 10:30 a.m. Sunday. The final speech rounds promise to be a highlight, beginning on Sunday around noon and culminating with the awards ceremony around 4 p.m., Leavoy said: “It’s certainly something to see!”
In The Pocket Nicaragua Benefit Concert
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. (Kenan Auditorium, Upper School)
This annual benefit concert for DA’s sister school in Nicaragua is unlike any other In The Pocket show, with nearly 20 alumni and family members joining the current ITP lineup on the Kenan Auditorium stage. One of the most popular events each year, tickets are now required for entry; reserve yours in advance at www.da.org/reservations. Tickets are free, but donations are encouraged.
The fun kicks off at 7:30 p.m. with a star-studded lineup that includes current members of ITP, family members and ITP alumni:
- Senior Lydia Oakley will again sing with her brother, ITP alumnus Lowell Oakley ’14 of The Voice fame, and their father, Lowell Oakley.
- Teacher Michael Meyer's father, Jim Meyer, will join ITP onstage to sing a song and play guitar.
- Junior Scott Hallyburton will perform alongside his brother, ITP alumnus Spencer Hallyburton ’14.
- Sophomore Steven Kohl will perform alongside his sister, ITP alumna Alison Kohl ’11.
- Also gracing the Kenan stage will be ITP alumni MacKenzi Simpson ’16, Christopher Camitta ’16, Braden Saba ’16, Andrés Rosa ’15, Alina Walling ’14 and Kristin Sundy ’11.
“You’ll of course also hear a whole bunch of great music performed by our current group, and all for a good cause. This is one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for DA’s sister school in San Ramon, Nicaragua — Bailadora #2,” Meyer said. “If you’ve seen this show in previous years, you know how special and how much fun it is. We hope you’ll make the time to join us!”
MLK Day of Service Meal-Packaging
Monday, 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. (Brumley Performing Arts Building, Lower School)
Enthusiasm for this annual schoolwide hunger-fighting event — held in partnership with Stop Hunger Now on Martin Luther King Jr. Day — has been tremendous, with both the morning and afternoon sessions filling to capacity in just a matter of days. With an army of volunteers ready to do their part, DA will likely package more than 35,208 meals at this year’s event, surpassing 200,000 total meals packaged in the eight years of the event.
While no space remains for volunteers, there is still a need for monetary donations to help pay for the food to be packaged.
“The response has shown once again that the DA community works to bring a message of service to their children and leads with example,” said community service director Anne McNamara, who has worked with the Upper School’s Stop Hunger Now Club to coordinate the event. To make a donation — any amount will make a difference — visit the Stop Hunger Now website. If you experience problems making a gift online, try opening the page in the Chrome or Internet Explorer browsers; you may also make a check out to “Stop Hunger Now” and send it to McNamara on the Upper School campus (3601 Ridge Road, Durham).
The consequences of world hunger are dire, she explained: “The causes of famine vary— government corruption, wars, natural disasters. The results are similar — populations locked in poverty, starvation, sickness and lack of education.”
Derek Rhodes ’11 Jimmy for the City Book Signing
Monday, noon (Brumley Performing Arts Building)
Durham Academy and Duke alumnus Derek Rhodes is inspiring the next generation of young people to commit to careers in public service through his children’s book Jimmy for the City. He’ll read excerpts of the book and sign copies at the kickoff of his book tour held on a most appropriate day — Martin Luther King Jr. Day — in a place key to Rhodes’ own journey to public service — his alma mater, DA.
“America was built on the foundation of public service. … Jimmy for the City was written to bring that sense of localized participation and community involvement back into the lives of American citizens,” Rhodes explained. “After spending my youth volunteering … I became incredibly passionate about public service and the values it offers every child. Our world of instant gratification has moved away from selflessness, and I found volunteering to be the most rewarding activity I ever did growing up.”
The book signing is scheduled for Monday at noon in Brumley Performing Arts Building. Copies of the book will be available for sale.