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Pursuing Passions           

          & Purpose

Upper School world language students recite poetry before their classmates.

Upper School

Grades 9–12

Successful students arrive at the Upper School with the drive, the energy and the commitment to start an amazing journey of personal growth, fully willing to meet the challenges before them. Whether conducting an independent study on autism and gender, sprinting past records in track and field, building robots for an international competition, or belting out show tunes on stage, Durham Academy Upper School is a place where being fully engaged and striving to be your most authentic self is not only accepted — it is expected and celebrated.

Day in the Life of an Upper Schooler

In the Upper School, an incredible selection of advanced, college-level courses allow students to reflect their genuine interests and passions. Here's an example of what a 10th-grader's average day might look like.

Few things bring me more joy than watching students experience that moment of self-discovery — when they find their ‘thing.’ At DA, we promote authenticity, that quest for self-discovery and seeking to be our best selves, and we strive to provide the opportunities for this kind of growth. Students flourish when their interests and curiosities are recognized and embraced by adults who care deeply for them.

Lanis Wilson
Director of Upper School

Come See For Yourself!

It's difficult to truly get a genuine feel for Durham Academy Upper School's new and redesigned state-of-the-art facilities — and most importantly, our engaged, passionate students and faculty — from a website. Rather, we encourage you to experience our community for yourself on a visit! Opportunities are available for both prospective parents/caregivers and for students.

We also know that you may have questions about affording a Durham Academy education. We encourage you to apply for financial aid if you believe you need any level of support and to reach out to chat about the financial aid or admission process. 

Plan Your VisitMeet Our StudentsLearn About Financial AidExplore Our New Facilities

Whatever your passion is, you can explore it with vigor at Durham Academy Upper School. If you have an interest in leadership, you'll find myriad opportunities to step up and inspire others — from advocating for a more environmentally sustainable future with a Student Government committee to teaching younger students in our Peer Educators course. If you thrive on stage or in the art studio, our talented arts faculty will help you refine your technique. Love the thrill of competition? You'll find it — and life lessons, marketable skills and memories for a lifetime — on the speech and debate stage, in the robotics lab or on the athletics field. 

Upper Schoolers participating in the South Korea Capstone experience pose for a photo.

All the World is a Classroom

As an Upper School student, you will participate in a major experiential education opportunity every year. For grades 9 to 11, that takes the form of the Cavalier Capstones program, in which students embark on unique learning experiences for a week in late May after final exams. There are a range of choices — from hands-on projects on campus and career exploration opportunities in the Triangle, to international travel opportunities — like this trip to South Korea.

For grade 12, the majority of students begin their year with Senior Challenge, a five-day wilderness adventure in the North Carolina mountains. 

Life @ DA Upper School

    Photography is a tool for seeing, documenting and investigating — and Avery Foster ’27 has used these skills in the medium to explore her other passions and to confront past experiences with her own identities. In this quick Q&A, we learn more about her work currently featured at the Durham Arts Council in a group exhibition titled “(RE)CLAMATION”, which is open until July 6, 2024. Other artists featured in the exhibition include Le’Isys Diaz, Vivian Njoroge and Naomi Nelms.