Commencement, Closing Exercises Move Online


Car Parade Celebrations Give a Sense of Closure

Commencement and closing exercises that would have been held at Duke University’s Page Auditorium and in Durham Academy performing arts buildings and gyms moved online on May 28 and 29. Families were able to tune in to a virtual version of each ceremony broadcast on Vimeo Live, and were then invited to visit campus for car parades to give their kindergartners, fourth-graders, eighth-graders and seniors a chance to celebrate as a class and have a sense of closure.



Preschool Closing Exercises

“You [kindergartners] embarked on a remarkable journey in August and over the course of these last 10 months, you have accomplished so many goals — you have published books, conducted experiments, crafted delectable dishes in cooking, solved innumerable math problems, produced breathtaking art and asked thousands of questions. You are experts in articulating your thinking, respectfully challenging your peers, making connections, trying new things and persisting through challenges. Each new day, exciting lesson and fun activity has added to our bank of precious moments.”

Christian Hairston-Randleman, Preschool Director


Watch the kindergarten closing exercises

Lower School Closing Exercises

“One of the most important things that you can do, fourth-graders, as you move up to the Middle School, is to be true to who you are. … You have been created a unique and special person — there’s no one else like you. You like some things that your friends don’t like, your friends are good at some things that you’re maybe not so good at doing. That’s OK. Be brave enough to be yourself and to speak what’s in your heart.”

Carolyn Ronco, Lower School Director


Watch the fourth grade closing exercises

Middle School Closing Exercises

“Perseverance. To me that word perfectly captures both the spirit of this [eighth-grade] class and my greatest wish for you as we send you off to high school and beyond. … Your teachers and I have always remarked at the closeness of this class. Sure, you have different groups of friends and a variety of interests, but there’s a kindness and accepting of difference that has been a hallmark of this grade throughout the years. Your closeness, combined with your abundant and usually appropriate sense of humor, have armed you with your own unique brand of perseverance. And boy, have you needed it for the last part of your eighth-grade year. … But in a way, this has been tremendous preparation for you as emerging adults. Even in non-pandemic times, the world is full of unexpected challenges and obstacles, and you are actually going to face them armed with more preparation than most eighth-graders have as they head to high school. So know that you have earned your strength.”

Jon Meredith, Middle School Director


Watch the eighth grade closing exercises


Eighth Grade Celebration

The Middle School also enjoyed a video version of the Eighth Grade Celebration assembly, which typically precedes their graduation. Meredith delivered remarks from the steel beams of the new Arts & Languages building, performed a rap with lyrics for each member of the class and played their annual slideshow. Eighth-graders then “exited” the assembly through a virtual version of the tunnel of love, created in Minecraft!

Watch the eighth grade celebration