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-Steiner, Head of School
Love so tender . . .
Among the many reasons I feel grateful my children attend Durham Academy: exposure to a wide variety of strong and loving men.
Two of these men stand out this week, as one of DA’s strongest student-athletes makes an important transition in his recovery.
First is Tim McKenna, our Varsity Boys Basketball Coach and Associate Director of Alumni Affairs. Tim has walked through a deep valley of emotions this winter. A car accident and serious injuries to three members of his team have shaken everyone in our community. None more than Tim, whose typically jovial demeanor and ironic humor (he is known in his office as the “resident smart-ass”) have moved into places deeper, more vulnerable, and more connected in recent months.
Known in years past for his on-the-court intensity, Tim is becoming known for his beyond-the-court generosity to his players, their families, and the hundreds of alums praying and rooting for Ryan Hester’s recovery.
Tim’s care has been plain to see – whether in hugs like those pictured at left or messages like the one tweeted after a last-second loss last week: “Love my guys for how hard they fought tonight.”
Yesterday Tim shared this update via Facebook:
Thanks to everyone who has been so supportive these past four weeks. I really appreciate it. I want to give an update on my three players who were in the car accident. Two of the guys have returned back to school and one of them has recently rejoined the team. They are both doing well and thrilled to be back to their day-to-day routines. The third young man was airlifted out from Duke Hospital this morning. He arrived safely in Atlanta, where he will begin extensive rehab at the Shepherd Center. Ryan will live on-site for as long as necessary. Here is a link to the Shepherd Center for any of you interested in seeing the work this amazing facility accomplishes on a daily basis. There is a 10-minute video on the homepage that is most informative. Thanks for keeping Ryan, his family and my basketball team in your thoughts and prayers. #DAStrong
Second is William Edwards, Upper School Biology teacher: Tennessee native, Sewanee grad, Peace Corps volunteer, Elvis fanatic, father of three, founding advisor of Durham Academy's SOCK Camp, founding member of our ASSIST team, the teacher who greets every student every day with a handshake and eye contact at the door of his biology lab.
William is the advisor for Ryan Hester. All our advisors go above and beyond for their advisees. Few have stretched as far as William. Nearly every afternoon for the last month, William has spent time with Ryan and his family. First in the Neurology ICU and lately in his regular hospital room, William has talked and read to Ryan, listened and chatted with his parents, and shared in the daily arm and leg exercises designed to stimulate nerve recovery in Ryan’s body. As usual, William does not see anything extraordinary in his support. As he told me this week, “Ryan’s my advisee. I need to be there.”
As his faculty colleagues know, William concludes some of his emails with the following smile-inducing salutation:
With love so tender it falls off the bone,
As colleagues and students of Mr. Edwards know, he is not kidding.
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