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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Friends, foes, wins, losses, and striving WITH

The etymology of the word competition offers clues about how we ought to engage in it. To com-pete is, literally, to strive with.

Thus we love interscholastic athletics, debate, chess, Science Olympiad and many other frames that help us strive with teammates and competitors toward our better selves.

This morning I was copied on an email that reminded me about competition at its best. The fact that Durham Academy found itself on the losing side of a pair of basketball games with well-coached Greensboro Day School teams this winter made the reminder especially poignant.

Win or lose, our students almost always recognize that learning, progress, and joy come from striving with friends and foes alike.

Dear Steve [Engebretsen, Durham Academy's Athletic Director]: 

I wanted to send a quick thank you to the Girls Varsity Lacrosse Coach and the team. DA arrived yesterday at GDS ready to play. They quickly took command of the game and soundly defeated GDS. Having coached for years (we moved from NJ to NC two years ago, and I have a daughter, a freshman, on the GDS team), it was refreshing to see the opposing team’s coach display great sportsmanship by asking her players to go into a hold pattern and not run up the score. DA used much of the time to practice passing, set up plays, use weaker players in the mix, etc. The score of the game could well have been 40-3 instead of 18-3. Further, the DA players themselves were great sports; they didn’t ridicule or outwardly show any kind of unsportsmanlike conduct at the level of play of the GDS girls. I talked to several of the GDS players after the game and they all commented that, while a very difficult match for them, all of the DA girls were great sports. That is a huge compliment!

I enjoyed watching your team play. I talked to one DA father who advised me that several players are committed to fine programs such as Duke, UNC and Stanford (field hockey). Congratulations! 

As a parent, and former lacrosse player myself, it was a joy to watch such great lacrosse yesterday. Much more importantly, it was wonderful to see the love of the game and great sportsmanship exhibited by your team. Please pass along my congratulations to the coach and your team.

Best, Gwyneth Cote

Posted by Michael Ulku-Steiner on Wednesday March, 25, 2015

1 Comment:

The day after posting this piece, an eerily similar message arrived from another mother. Different school (Rogers-Herr in Durham) different level (Middle School) different athletes (boys lacrosse) but the very same gratifying message. Here it is: Good afternoon, I have been meaning to sit down and write this since our game on March 18th, unfortunately, time has gotten away from me many evenings. I wanted to take the time as a parent and as a fellow middle school teacher to express my gratitude. I'd like you to pass my thanks along to your middle school boys lacrosse team and their families. They should be VERY proud! My son is just one of the boys that are learning how to play lacrosse on the brand new Rogers-Herr team with Glenn Estacio. He has been loving it so far and we are grateful to Glenn for starting it at RH. In fact, many of these boys have never picked up a lacrosse stick until this season. On our first game, your team crushed us (as expected.) However our boys walked away from that game with a lot more than the feeling of defeat. I was on the field keeping score (learning how to at the same time) with another RH teacher and lacrosse parent when we observed/heard on numerous occasions the positive sportsmanship that Durham Academy boys exhibited. I heard comments spoken to and sometimes shouted to our players on what a great job they did, tips on how to perform better, and reminding them of game rules. My own son said one of the DA boys even offered him a quick tip and kudos for a good play. He thought that was VERY cool that an opposing team helped them and were so nice. I never once heard or saw anything negative or unkind. This game experience really started off the season well for our boys even with a scoreboard that indicated they didn't win the game. Our boys won in so many other ways this game, I can't thank the DA boys lacrosse enough for. What a great group of boys you have over there and I thank you for being our first game ever and for your boys effectively modelling to ours what lacrosse and positive sportsmanship is all about! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Keep up the great work over there! Special kudos to the lacrosse coach as well, he was so patient and helpful with us brand new score/time keepers and we appreciated that as well! Mrs. Kelly A. Stevens Social Studies Teacher Rogers-Herr Middle School
from mulkus on 03/27/15 at 09:42AM

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