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
It was a biologist’s dream, UNC Chancellor Carol Folt recalled, describing the moment the newly fledged giant albatross leapt off the southern New Zealand cliff, spreading its 12-foot wingspan as it departed for a yearlong journey over the sea. Speaking to the 100 members of Durham Academy’s Class of 2016 on Friday, she likened the giant seabird’s brave leap to the graduates’ own impending journeys, as they prepare to take flight to college.
“I want you to really think about the exuberance that could be associated with taking flight, and about the new perspective that is gained, soaring over those clouds,” Folt said from the stage of UNC’s Memorial Hall. “That’s what going to college is all about. It’s about taking a giant leap into the unknown and soaring.”
In her work as a biologist, Folt said she’s learned that it’s in such periods of transition that the important things in life are determined. She advised the graduates to view life’s transitions, with all their uncertainties, as not reasons for worry but instead “as your moments of greatest possibility.”
In opening her remarks, Folt reflected on the many connections that tie together UNC and DA, from George Watts Hill's and Frank Kenan's fervent support of both educational institutions in their lifetimes; to DA Head of School Michael Ulku-Steiner's work to help create the university's APPLES service-learning program as a UNC undergraduate; to DA alumnus and UNC physician Dr. Billy Fischer's leadership in the fight against Ebola.
Further strengthening those ties are the nearly two dozen members of DA's Class of 2016 who will attend UNC Chapel Hill in the fall. Other DA graduates will attend 49 colleges and universities around the country and overseas, from nearby Duke University to schools farther from home, like Yale University, Colorado College and University of Chicago.
As she prepares to leave for Stanford University in the fall, saying goodbye to the classmates and teachers who have become so dear is difficult, senior speaker Veronica Kim said. She’s counted the miles that will separate her from some of the people she cares about most — 2,175, 2,788 and 3,003.
As her time has wound down with these people, Kim said she's found herself reflecting on their times together, intentionally picking out what she wants to remember in the years to come.
"I want to remember high school in the moments when it surpassed its stereotypes," she said. "In the first time I realized, I really, really like this class. In the first time I finished a cross-country race. In the first time I heard ITP perform and realized, holy mother of God, these are some of the most talented humans I have ever seen. In the first time a teacher became a role model, a mentor, a friend. In the first time I realized an English classroom or a history office could feel like home."
Kim said she’s found comfort in the realization that a few thousands miles “are nothing if you care about these people in the way you know you do.
“Because if I am certain about anything,” she continued, “it is that even the largest of people must have, at some point, realized that fearing the world is no way to affect it. And I can think of no better time to begin than now.”
For Lee Hark, the ceremony served as a farewell to his role as Upper School director. After serving at the helm of the school division for eight years, Hark will fully transition to his role as associate head of school over the summer.
"I believe in this school with all my heart. This happened quickly, and it came as something of a surprise. I've worked at several world-class prep schools, and I've never felt that feeling before," Hark said.
That's partly due to the fact that his three children are "literally growing up before my eyes at DA," he said, with their lives having been shaped by teachers in the Preschool, Lower School and Middle School — and the promise of the "fantastic Upper School faculty" awaiting them in a few years.
But his love for DA stems from much more than his family's experiences, Hark said.
"Our school is also the result of unique blend of variables including the families in this unique school community and the best head of school working in independent schools today, and I think that makes DA very special."