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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Make your soul grow

I taught 9th Grade English at DA for nearly a decade. Among the novels that seemed to press the deepest into the memories of my students (the one to which they most frequently refer in emails even now): Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five.

It's been years since I read or taught the book but I think Vonnegut's staying power grows in part from his combination of irreverance and reverence - the latter toward the most humane aspects of our culture and consciousness.

Today my colleague Gib Fitzpatrick (MS math teacher and soccer coach) shared this letter - written from Vonnegut himself to a group of high school students in New York in 2006. An excerpt:

What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what's inside you, to make your soul grow.

Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you're Count Dracula.

Click here to see the complete letter (and a sketched self-portrait).

Posted by in Upper School, Other on Monday October, 28, 2013


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