Upper School Magnificent 7 awards celebrate strength of character
Posted 04/22/2015 05:18PM

In a popular op-ed piece, New York Times columnist David Brooks recently mused that there are "two sets of virtues, the résumé virtues and the eulogy virtues." While "résumé virtues" are certainly celebrated at Durham Academy, "eulogy virtues" are as well — most publicly at the annual Upper School "Magnificent 7" awards assembly, which recognizes community members for traits like honesty, courage and generosity. At the 2015 assembly, held Tuesday, eight students and two faculty/staff members were honored in an event filled with emotion and sincerity. 

To open the assembly, senior Piera Varela recalled the experience of telling her parents that she'd been tapped for the Magnificent 7 selection committee and describing the awards to be bestowed.

"My stepmother looked me in the eye, and she said, 'That's the kind of thing that really makes Durham Academy Durham Academy,'" Varela said. "And you know, she's right. DA has great academics, a really strong sports program and an outstanding arts program. But what really makes us unique and what makes us strong is the community that we build and the relationships that we encourage." 


2015 Magnificent 7 honorees include the following:

  • To respect the dignity of each individual (two recipients): Breanna Byrd and Kenan Ulku-Steiner
  • To treat others with kindness: Dina Guilak
  • To share with those in need: Katie Vincent
  • To be honest: Will Beischer
  • To encourage intellectual curiosity: Connor Leech
  • To care for the environment and property: Annabella Gong
  • To have the courage to do the right thing: Helen Morgan
  • Magnificent Staff Member: school store manager Kate Cadwallader
  • Magnificent Faculty Member: physics teacher Meg McNall
An independent, coeducational day school, pre-kindergarten through grade 12.
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