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DA Giving Day is Your Chance to Say ‘Thank You’

On Tuesday, Cavs across the country and around the globe will join with current Durham Academy families in gratitude for the teachers and experiences that make DA such an exceptional place to learn. March 26 marks Durham Academy’s eighth-annual Giving Day — a fundraising extravaganza for the school community that means so much to us all.

The goal for Giving Day is widespread participation in support of the Durham Academy Fund — not dollar amounts — so your support is invaluable, no matter the amount of your gift! Follow the action all day on Tuesday at, where you’ll see parent and alumni leaderboards, updates from social media (use the hashtag #DAgivingday to amplify your support), a heat map of donors and more. Students can also get in on the Giving Day excitement by dressing in green and white on Tuesday!


The Durham Academy Fund is the building block of support for DA’s people and programs, providing immediate impact through the school’s operating budget. This supports areas including experiential learning opportunities (think Senior Challenge and field trips); arts and humanities; diversity, equity and engagement; athletics; sustainability efforts; STEM education; student financial aid; professional development opportunities; and Innovation Journey Fund projects.

Perhaps more than anyone, DA teachers appreciate watching the donor progress bar grow throughout the day and seeing familiar names on the donor appreciation list. By supporting the Durham Academy Fund, you are supporting their work and saying “thank you.” Here’s what a few DA teachers and community members had to say about Giving Day, the DA Fund and what your generosity makes possible:

“The act of giving, whether it is a small or grand gesture, is a quiet and personal choice, but it has powerful ripple effects. Believe me, the small grant that I received in 2009 to join a delegation of teachers to go to Egypt right before the Arab Spring transformed the design of my World Cultures class. And last year, my 13 students in the inaugural year of the Diaspora Kitchen class would not be able to put together their concept restaurant illuminating the Korean diaspora without the generous funding through the IJF [Innovation Journey Fund]. So, please give! Whether it is a small or large pebble, know that your giving will have a profound effect on the lives of this community.”

Thomas Phu
Upper School history teacher, parent of alumni and soccer coach

“As a Middle School science teacher, I have a front-row seat to appreciate the impact of the DA Fund. We have access to so many resources, such as lab equipment, materials for dissections, science videos from Discovery Education and interactive content from IXL. We're able to make our lessons considerably more impactful and memorable through the generosity of the DA Fund.”

Mike Schollmeyer
Middle School science teacher and basketball, soccer & baseball coach

“Throughout my tenure at Durham Academy, I have been amazed by the ways in which the school community continues to come together, especially when it comes to participation in the DA Fund. As a teacher, I am most grateful for the opportunities that those dollars provide for our students. From simple purchases like new dramatic play items and updated classroom toys to the more costly field trips and special day presenters, DA students are the beneficiaries. Whenever I have needed something to enhance my work in the classroom, the answer to my request has always been, ‘Yes!’ That positive response is truly a gift that conveys a message of support and is deeply appreciated by each and every teacher.”

Sheri-lyn Carrow
Pre-kindergarten teacher and parent of alumna

“Participating in the Durham Academy Fund means more than just giving — it means investing in the future of our students. Through your generosity, we're removing some financial obstacles and fostering a more equitable experience where students can continue to thrive and excel.”

Kemi Nonez
Director of Enrollment Management and parent of alum

“One of my professional passions is making sure that every child feels seen, safe and heard in our classroom community. One of my favorite organizations that provides research in community building and social-emotional skills is Responsive Classroom. The Durham Academy Fund has helped my ongoing professional learning by allowing me to attend deeper trainings from Responsive Classroom. Teachers and students are lifelong learners, and I am thankful to DA for supporting this for me!”

Elizabeth Parry ’13
Kindergarten teacher and DA alumna

“My husband and I support Durham Academy Giving Day because we believe in each student I teach and coach — and in every DA student who shows up every day trying to be their best. We give because we believe in my colleagues and want to ensure they have the resources necessary to do the very cool things that they do every day. Giving Day is a moment for our community to speak in unity and solidarity. To speak to our belief in our mission statement, our Strategic Vision, and our Diversity, Equity and Engagement work. To show that we are all-in on DA.”

Crawford Leavoy
Director of Speech & Debate and Global Programs Coordinator

“The Family Matters Speakers Series, made possible by the DA Fund, has been a wonderful addition to our parent/caregiver programming. The invited speakers have informed our families about important issues highlighted in parent/caregiver surveys. This has allowed our community to come together and engage in meaningful discussions via division-level book clubs. Along with all the DAFA events, the Family Matters Speakers Series has provided opportunities for further involvement and connection.”

Asha Patel
Family Association President and current parent

“The Durham Academy Fund serves as a crucial support system that enables us to host events and initiatives that foster our DEE goals within our community. The support provided by the DA Fund has allowed the DA Chinese Program to organize numerous cultural events over the past couple of years, including the renowned all-division Lunar New Year celebrations. As an active conference presenter and member, I have personally witnessed the tangible benefits of the DA Fund. It has enabled me to attend conferences such as the People of Color Conference (PoCC) and participate in various national conferences focused on World Language education.”

Bonnie Wang
Upper School Chinese teacher and DEE curriculum consultant

“The DA Fund has been essential in cultivating innovation at DA. This generous support by the DA community is how STEAM by Design went from an idea by [Middle School technology coordinator] Karl Schaefer to an entire computer science department on our Middle School campus that offers programming for fifth- through eighth-graders to explore topics such as robotics, 3D design (laser cutting and 3D printing), web design, game development, digital design, electronics, virtual reality, and stop-motion movie-making. The infectious curiosity of the learners who spend every spare moment in our purpose-built STEAM Design Studio in the Gateway Center is truly inspiring! Thank you for your contributions to the DA Fund!”

Melissa Mack
Middle School computer science and STEAM by Design teacher

““The DA Fund is a crucial component of making sure our student-athletes have everything they need for a successful season. We appreciate your gifts so that our student-athletes have the latest equipment, sharp uniforms and comfortable travel in their quest to have the best season they can.” Andy Pogach Director of Athletics”

Andy Pogach
Director of Athletics

“I am thankful for the DA Fund for helping the seventh grade have several important experiences outside of the classroom that help expand our students' understanding of their communities and their place in it. I think about events like our Opening Year Experience where seventh-graders volunteer at local organizations, including shopping, cooking and serving a meal at a local homeless shelter for hundreds of people. I also think of the amazing opportunity seventh-graders have to visit Washington, D.C., and to explore our nation's capital. This year, we were excited to add seeing Ain't Too Proud at the Kennedy Center to our trip. The seventh grade’s advisory activities center around a theme of “Looking Beyond Ourselves.” These annual traditions are keystones in the seventh-grade experience and help seventh-graders Look Beyond Themselves in meaningful ways. The DA Fund makes them possible.”

Kim Aitken
Seventh-grade team leader, Middle School math teacher and current parent

“The DA Fund is one of the things that keeps our learning community thriving. The fact that this fund supports such a variety of needs — from a special new instrument for our music programs to essential financial aid for our students — makes donations really meaningful. One of the reasons I wanted to come to DA nine years ago was the robust professional development opportunities the school offers to faculty, and the DA Fund supports that, too! Another more recent development is the funding that has made Innovation Journey grants possible. There are so many cool initiatives happening in every division and department at school. It's exciting!”

Karen Richardson
Middle School fine arts academic leader and vocal music teacher

“The DA Fund provides faculty, staff and students with access to the People of Color Conference (PoCC) and the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC), which ultimately serve as transformative experiences that nurture fellowship, connection and professional growth. In fact, my experience this past fall in St. Louis with colleagues and Upper School students provided a space for authentic kinship and learning that ultimately serves as a source of inspiration. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to attend PoCC/SDLC and truly appreciate the efforts of the DA community to support the DA Fund because these experiences create lifelong memories!”

Tyrone Gould
Upper School dean of students, Bridge coordinator and current parent

“Sustainability was just an idea for DA a few years ago. The DA Fund has enabled us to engage consultants to measure our carbon footprint and develop a vision for education that incorporates sustainability. It has also provided support for events on campus (Earth Day Fair and Sustain-in, for example) and off campus, including tree-planting in central Durham.”

Tina Bessias ’78
Sustainability coordinator, independent learning coordinator, alumna and parent of alums

“I’m so grateful that Tina [Bessias] and I get to work with a team of sustainability leaders in each division through the Innovation Journey Fund. It’s inspiring to work together, knowing we’re teaching many students about sustainability from their earliest years at DA up until their graduation. The formation of a leadership team also gave credence to the longtime sustainability work of [Preschool science teacher] Theresa Shebalin and to Tina’s efforts, which resulted in the formation of an Upper School Sustainability Committee and helped encourage DA leadership to commit to sustainability four-year smart goals.”

Andrea Caruso
Upper School sustainability leader and science teacher

“As a coach for Durham Academy, it’s my goal to provide meaningful experiences for our student-athletes. Giving Day has provided opportunities for our players and coaches to find success on and off the court.”

Nigel Cabral
Varsity girls basketball head coach, assistant director of DA Summer

Follow the action on Tuesday at! We encourage you to inspire others to join you in your generosity on social media with the hashtag #DAGivingDay; you can download a graphic for use on social at Thank you for your support!