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 seniors Ellie Breitfeld and Loften Deprez are semifinalists in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, which recognizes graduating high school seniors' academic and artistic accomplishments. They are among 689 students from across the country — 20 of whom are North Carolinians — selected to advance to the final round of the prestigious competition.
From nearly 3.3 million graduating high school seniors across the country, more than 4,700 were identified as candidates in the Presidential Scholars Program, chiefly by virtue of their performance on college entrance exams. In addition to Breitfeld and Deprez, DA fielded two other candidates: Leah Carson and Veronica Kim. Of the 689 semifinalists, just 160 have been named Presidential Scholars.
Ellie Breitfeld — who, along with her twin sister, Abby, will attend Princeton University in the fall — is a member of DA's Cum Laude Society and is a National Merit Scholarship finalist. She counts the 10th-grade Academic Effort Award and Volunteer Center Mayor's Award among her accolades and has competed on DA's varsity track and field and cross-country teams for four years, serving as a captain of both teams her senior year. For each of her four years at the Upper School, she has also served as a counselor with DA's student-organized SOCK Camp and performed with the a cappella group Acapocalypse.
Breitfeld spent the summer of 2015 working in the Wilbourn Infant Lab at Duke — a psychology lab focused on language development in young children — where she developed a knowledge of psychology research by recruiting study participants, setting up testing, coding study videos and the like.
"It's just a validation of everything that I've worked for all throughout high school," Breitfeld said of the Presidential Scholars honor. "But it's also really humbling to know that there are 680-some other people who worked just as hard as I did or even harder. It's really exciting for me."
Loften Deprez, who will attend Yale University in the fall, is among the top debaters in the country, having competed on DA's speech and debate team each of his four years in the Upper School. Deprez and his debate partner, fellow senior Eilene Yang, were recently named champions of the Tournament of Champions' International Public Forum Debate competition — beating out 50 of the best teams from around the world. It's the latest in a slew of debate honors, including a second-place finish at the 2015 National Public Forum Challenge and thrice qualifying to compete in the National Speech and Debate Association's national tournament.
Deprez — whose other accolades include commendation from the National Merit Scholarship program and the 11th-grade DA history award — has also served as a writer and editor on the staff of the student newspaper The Green and White. An accomplished fly fisherman in the Japanese Tenkara style, Deprez is the founder of the Saxapahaw Tenkara Club and has sold flies that he designs and hand-ties to local outdoor shops and online.
"Being named a semifinalist is a great honor. Although it seems relatively trivial, I think the Presidential Scholars Program serves an important purpose," Deprez said. "During a time in which the media is dominated by reports about partisan bickering and congressional gridlock, the Scholars Program serves as a reminder that our government can come together on issues we all agree on like commending those with impressive scholastic achievements."
Durham Academy has been home to three previous Presidential Scholars.
Photos are courtesy of Mary Moore McLean Photography.