Heads Up

Welcome to Heads Up, a blogging experiment that aims to: 

  • connect the people, parts, and principles of Durham Academy;
  • share ideas about learning and human development;
  • spotlight a few of the many wondrous things I get to see every day at Durham Academy. 

Thanks for reading the posts below — and sending news, links and ideas worth sharing. 

Michael Ulku-SteinerHead of School 

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"The world needs them"

My week of icy travel and obsessive Doppler radar-watching started with a potent “goosebump moment” on Monday morning. To see what triggered it, click here to see a cell-phone video recording and Melody Butts’ great story in News and Notes.

What follows is a related exchange with an a cappella judge from Florida, where DA’s singing group XIV Hours competed last weekend in a national competition.

Dear Mr. Ulku-Steiner and Mr. Hark,

I acted as a judge at this weekend’s ICHSA Semifinal competition in Tampa, where a group of your students, XIV Hours, performed. I spoke to them and their director, Mr. Meyer, afterward, but I thought it was important that I reach out to you, as well, to tell you what an impressive group of young women and men they are—and…

Posted by mulkus on Friday February 27, 2015
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Today is the last day of the last month of the Chinese lunisolar calendar. That means celebrations throughout China tonight, as tomorrow marks the New Year. Click here to read more about the personality traits of those born in the “Year of the Goat.”

I can’t wait to take my first trip to China.

In late April, Upper School Director and Assistant Head of School Lee Hark and I will travel to Beijing and Shanghai to tour four schools – among them the Experimental School attached to Beijing Normal University, from which thirteen Chinese 10th Graders came to spend two weeks on DA’s campus this month.

Our trip will be sponsored by the Chinese Cultural and Education Center (CCEC), founded by Dr. Jianli Wang and his wife Huaiying Kang. In recent years, …

Posted by Michael Ulku-Steiner on Wednesday February 18, 2015
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Love so tender . . .

Among the many reasons I feel grateful my children attend Durham Academy: exposure to a wide variety of strong and loving men.

Two of these men stand out this week, as one of DA’s strongest student-athletes makes an important transition in his recovery.

First is Tim McKenna, our Varsity Boys Basketball Coach and Associate Director of Alumni Affairs. Tim has walked through a deep valley of emotions this winter. A car accident and serious injuries to three members of his team have shaken everyone in our community. None more than Tim, whose typically jovial demeanor and ironic humor (he is known in his office as the “resident smart-ass”) have moved into places deeper, more vulnerable, and more connected in recent months.

Known in years past for his on-the-court intensity,…

Posted by mulkus on Saturday February 7, 2015
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Life's most persistent and urgent question

A couple of weeks ago I received the message below from the mother of 5th Grader Maddie Moore. She refers to me but ought to thank English Teacher Fran Wittman and her Upper School Stop Hunger Now club members. Their work continues to ripple outward.  

Good morning Michael,

Monday's MLK: Stop Hunger Now morning of service was amazing. 

We are extremely grateful Durham Academy places service to others as a necessary and fulfilling part of the student experience. Maddie has always been a very active participant in our family philanthropy and even started her own "Drink the Pink!" Lemonade stand during October benefitting local Breast Cancer charities.  

The moment we got home Monday she made a "Stop Hunger Now!" poster and solicited her neighbors for 25 cents to save …

Posted by mulkus on Sunday February 1, 2015
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