A Mission-Driven Life

"The purpose of Durham Academy is to provide each student an education that will enable him or her to live a moral, happy and productive life."

Moral. Happy. Productive.

Those words are at the heart of Durham Academy’s mission statement — and have been for almost 50 years — because at DA, character matters. More than homework or grades or SAT scores, character is what endures. Our mission to prepare students for moral, happy, productive lives means DA is as committed to developing our students’ moral compass as we are to developing their intellect. Removing any one of the mission statement’s essential, interdependent values would risk toppling the balance, stability and foundation provided by that three-legged stool.

But what does a moral, happy, productive life look like? What do we mean when we use those words? What traits or characteristics are essential to living such a life? This site contains some answers to those questions — Durham Academy’s school-wide definition of good character. It represents our aspirational articulation of the values we hope to infuse in all our students.

The Durham Academy Graduate: A Mission-Driven Life is the product of a yearlong conversation among faculty from all 14 grade levels, with input from alumni, parents, staff and trustees. It is a bold constellation of character traits that drives our daily work and sustains our students long past graduation.


A Mission-Driven Life: This is Why We Do It

This song is the latest iteration in a broad effort to articulate and activate Durham Academy’s
mission to prepare students for moral, happy, productive lives. Like the magazine articles,
print booklets, this microsite, classroom posters, and art projects already produced, “This is Why We Do It”
reinforces our school-wide unity around the attributes of The Durham Academy Graduate: A Mission-Driven Life.
We continue to look for ways to make our mission concrete, accessible, fun and durable.

Knowing the way that lyrics can stick in our memories and trusting your creativity and ingenuity,
we challenge you, our students, to take the song and run with it: perform the lyrics yourselves,
film your own live-action video to accompany the track, or use the song as springboard for your
own moral, happy, productive project.

Mr. Ulku-Steiner and Mr. Hark