Parents Association & Parents Council
The Durham Academy Parents Association supports the school's academic, social, fine arts and athletic objectives. Parents Association encourages volunteerism, raises and disperses funds, promotes communication and cooperation, and provides input to the school on issues of concern and interest to parents. All Durham Academy parents are members of the Parents Association.
The Durham Academy Parents Council is the governing board of the Parents Association. This group comprises members of an executive committee; division representatives; members of schoolwide committees on matters such as diversity, wellness and athletics; and parents who organize both community-building and fundraising events. See a list of the parents who serve on Parents Council.
Parents Bulletin Board
Durham Academy alumna Breanna Byrd '15 has a way with words, delivering passionate spoken word poetry performances on a national stage. So it's no surprise that even in her everyday life, she chooses her language — both what she says and what she doesn't say — carefully.
"I don't say 'don't be a sissy,' just because — I mean, look at me. I'm kind of awesome, like tough right there," she said as she pointed to a photo of her — overlaid with the words she chooses to not say — projected on the stage of Kenan Auditorium at a recent assembly. Associating femininity with weakness "is not something that should be said or joked about," she said.
Byrd is among nine Upper School students, recent graduates and faculty who participated in DA's "I Don't Say" project, which aims to draw attention to commonly used language that can be marginalizing to groups of people. The project was inspired by the "You Don't Say?" campaign at Duke University, which drew worldwide interest for highlighting the impact of hurtful slang.
The DA project — a collaboration of the Upper School's Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA), Diversity Club and Advanced Photography class — followed the format of the original Duke campaign, with black-and-white images of participants overlaid with text describing what they choose to not say, as well as an explanation of why they don't say it. Issues highlighted by the "I Don't Say" images include sexuality, mental health, gender, socio-economic status, intellectual disabilities and nationality.
The year-long process included a presentation from and discussion with the founders of Duke's "You Don't Say?" campaign in the fall; collecting "I Don't Say" submissions from the DA community; faculty and students winnowing the submissions to nine; and photography students shooting and editing the photos. The completed images were unveiled during an Upper School assembly in Kenan Auditorium in late May
"We wanted to be sure [the statements] were representative of different groups and that they were words that students hear a lot but might not realize the impact that they have on their classmates," said Naa-Norley Adom, an English teacher and Diversity Club advisor.
For photography teacher Harrison Haynes, the collaboration across disciplines, social groups and grade levels was exciting: "It was just a really wonderfully freeing and kind of fluid activity that everyone was in just purely for the enthusiasm and their interest in the project."
English teacher Dr. Harry Thomas, advisor for the GSA, said it's important to note that, like the Duke campaign, DA's project doesn't encourage censorship or attempt to forbid others from saying the highlighted words. Rather, "it's saying that as thoughtful, caring and empathetic people, we've thought it through and decided not to say these words, not to say these pieces of language in our day-to-day lives," he said.
Daniel Kort, a 2015 graduate of Duke, is one of three people who launched the original "You Don't Say?" campaign as students in early 2014.
"The ‘You Don't Say?’ campaign was originally targeted toward college students at Duke University, but we are especially thrilled to see Durham Academy pick up the project," he said. "Marginalizing language and bullying start at a much younger age, so it is very impactful to see high schoolers taking such a powerful stance in the name of equity."
DA Dean of Boys Lanis Wilson's "I Don't Say" image focuses on the impact of the word "retard." It doesn't matter whether you say a hurtful word to someone who is directly affected by it or not, he said, addressing the assembled students in Kenan.
"It's about being aware that there's a world around you of people who are dealing with things and struggling and trying to be the best people they can be," Wilson said. "And it's part of our obligation of being members of the human race, to support each other. If we can avoid using language that makes other people hurt, that should be our goal."