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Alexander Isley ’80


Curiosity cultivates creativity, and growing up in DA’s intellectual environment can result in creative careers for our graduates.

Graphic designer Alexander Isley ’80, who designed DA’s logo, says, “Learning has never been as fun for me since.” The award-winning alumnus has been called one of the most influential designers of the last 50 years. Isley believes designers hold a unique place in the world as artists, collaborators, problem-solvers, interpreters and communicators. Creating work that makes a contribution, Isley says, “can change the way people think and affect the way they live. We can inspire people. And that’s a worthy goal.”


Derek Rhodes ’11 has determination to spare when it comes to civic engagement.

The Duke student body vice president expanded community relations programs while serving as one of the head managers for the 2015 NCAA championship men’s basketball team. Rhodes interned twice in Washington, D.C., first in the Justice Department and later in the president’s office of scheduling and advancement. Rhodes is the manager of innovation and strategy for the Miami Heat and is the author of Jimmy for the City, a children’s book that aims to inspire young readers to pursue careers in public service.

Derek Rhodes ’11 book signing at Durham Academy
senior challenge


Got grit? Experiential education is a hallmark of the DA experience.

Students in grades 5, 6 and 8 participate in overnight excursions to destinations from the North Carolina mountains to the coast, while the seventh grade participates in service-learning activities. Trips increase in length and build skill over the years, culminating in Senior Challenge — a six-day backpacking, hiking and rappelling mountain adventure. The perfect combination of physical, mental and emotional challenges, the experience expands students’ comfort zones and develops fortitude.


Every March, dozens of the nation’s top boys high school lacrosse teams converge on the Triangle for the King of the Spring Face-Off Classic.

Coach Jon Lantzy created the tournament in 2009 as a way for his players to gain experience against high-level teams and leverage teamwork for worthy organizations. Competition is fierce off the field as teams fundraise for various charities. The 2017 event fielded 25 boys teams and six girls teams over six days at six venues and raised more than $36,000 for Duke Children’s Hospital.

King of the Spring Face-Off Classic
upper school graduation


In the years leading up to graduation, all families call on the collective wisdom of DA’s college counselors.

Their decades of experience guiding seniors toward graduation and beyond and pairing seniors with some of the most competitive colleges and universities in the country is unmatched. DA students are known and nurtured, especially when finding the “perfect fit” college where they will begin the next chapter of their lives. At our annual Senior Dinner, Co-Director of College Counseling Kathy Cleaver gave the Class of 2017 some wise advice: pack a spirit of community, 20 seconds of insane courage and an extra dose of curiosity.