We came to Durham Academy — from many directions and with varied roles — because we sensed a shared commitment to excellence. That commitment manifests in our life-changing faculty; the vibrancy of our arts, sports and community service programs; and the vigor with which we help students build their best selves.
Durham Academy Magazine Winter 2019
Salad on the floor, beef stew on bus seats, grease-stained shirts, torn paper flower decorations — these were some of the messes made by the seventh-grade class as they planned, shopped for, cooked and served a meal for 250 people in the community café at Urban Ministries of Durham.
When the mercury drops each winter, Benny Klein has always had a warm coat to keep out the chill. But the Durham Academy junior knows that not everyone is so lucky.
During a series of drawing explorations, Middle School art students squirted bleach onto colored paper to create a stain on the paper. “They drew into the bleach shape inspired by the idea of drawing danger and by the Surrealists, an arts movement that sought to release the creative potential of the unconscious mind,” art teacher Fran Savarin explained.
The school year had barely begun, but ninth- through 11th-graders were already thinking about what they would be doing the last week of the school year. No, it wasn’t exams — final exams would be completed by then. Rather, Upper Schoolers were studying the 40-page Cavalier Capstone Catalog and deciding which of the 30 experiences interested them.
An exchange with students from Spain proved truly life-changing for Helen Morgan ’15. Helen and her father, Frank Morgan, talked about their experience with the program and why it was so important to them. The program continued through fall 2018 with a visit from Spanish students. DA students will have opportunities to travel to Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries in the future.
In the last eight years, I have been back to China many times by myself. The 7,000-mile trip is just a number and does not tell you much about the distance. One time, it took me 29 hours to arrive home because of cancellations and delays of connecting flights. After waiting five hours at JFK and 12 hours at LAX, the distance between me and home, in my mind, became much wider.
Jake Kavanagh’s design résumé may read like a who’s who in the worlds of athletics, arts and entertainment, but the thrill of the bright lights couldn’t hold a candle to his calling to teach, and that’s what brought Kavanagh to Durham Academy in 2016. In DA’s technical theater course, he teaches “lighting, sound, set construction, learning about the structure of the theater, everything that sort of happens backstage, everything outside of what Mr. [James] Bohanek is teaching on stage in terms of acting.”
It has been said that when your values are clear, making decisions become easier. For several years, Lower School teachers at Durham Academy have been researching and defining our values for math education for our students. From this work, Lower School teachers — through conversations and collaboration — have identified a math curriculum that best reflects what we believe to be optimal teaching practices for math instruction in our Lower School.
Increased time for literacy and math instruction and more time to serve the social-emotional needs of students are two of the driving factors behind Durham Academy’s decision to lengthen the kindergarten school day beginning in August 2019. While the kindergarten day will run from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., the pre-kindergarten schedule will remain the same, running from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The following provides a snapshot of the DA Campus Plan in action: a student lens on the STEM wing’s first few months in operation; designs for the upcoming humanities wing and what will become the double-decker building’s former footprint; and a comprehensive reimagining of the Middle School. With each phase, DA opens the doors to 21st century excellence, inspiring new generations of teachers and students.
Over the 10 summers that I have spent in Seoul, South Korea, while my parents taught at Korea University, I have been exposed to the conflict and history of the Korean peninsula in a variety of ways.
Hurricane Florence left Eastern North Carolina reeling, and the Durham Academy community was quick to spring into action with donations of much-needed supplies. The Middle School was an official collection site for the Carolina Cavalry, a grass-roots group delivering items to areas devastated by the hurricane.
Sloan Nuernberger loved playing football and basketball with her two older brothers when she was growing up, but it wasn’t until she was the mother of three young boys that she discovered running. She ran for five or six years, increasing her endurance and her mileage, before signing up for any kind of race.
In 2018, DA held alumni events in seven different states and more than 575 alumni attended out-of-state and local events.
It’s a dream come true — he has a job that revolves around sports and has given him the chance to visit Istanbul, Manchester, Barcelona, Madrid and Mexico City, along with NBA cities all over the U.S. Gallo is a sideline reporter for the Thunder’s regional television games on Fox Sports Oklahoma; provides written and video reporting for okcthunder.com and the team’s various social platforms; and works as a producer.
Alumni had a blast reconnecting over barbecue and beer on campus Friday, and classes ending in 3s and 8s gathered for a reunion party Saturday evening at Watts Grocery.
For DA Alumni Board President Garrett Putman ’94, “connection” is what Career Day was all about.
Moving to China after graduating from college, 2007 Durham Academy graduate Terence Hsieh’s life is immersed in music — from directing the jazz program at the International School of Beijing and releasing his debut jazz album, to leading a pop cover band and playing keyboards, trombone and trumpet with some of China’s biggest pop singers.
The first to sprint across the finish line at the waterlogged 2018 state cross-country meet, Allison Hall ’24 set the stage for the Durham Academy girls team to win the squad’s first title in 22 years. And for longtime observers of DA cross-country, her performance brought to mind a pair of impressive state meet performances 30 years ago — when Hall’s father and mother placed first and seventh, respectively.
As a structural engineer, Susan Easterling ’00 experiences the satisfaction of contributing to a vision becoming reality, and she’s proud to have been a part of buildings all around the Bull City — including Durham Academy’s own STEM and Humanities Center. As president of one of the few woman-owned engineering businesses in the Triangle, she strives to balance work with being mom to her two young children — and to live each day to its fullest.
Durham Academy taught Nico Bollerslev Fox to always try to do her best. She took that lesson to heart, vowing “good things come to people that work hard.” That has led her professionally to a career in advertising analytics in New York City and personally to complete the six Abbott World Marathon Majors — running New York, Chicago, Boston, Berlin, Tokyo and London — before turning 30. “It was the hottest London marathon day on record," she said of her last race, on April 22.
Durham Academy’s biannual magazine was first published in 1974. The magazine features articles written by various members of the DA community, including faculty, staff, administrators, alumni and students.
We want to hear from you! If you are interested in writing for a future edition of Durham Academy Magazine, want to pitch a story idea or provide feedback, please contact Editor Kathy McPherson at firstname.lastname@example.org.