Engagement Matters: How DA’s service-learning lessons impacted my professional development by derek rhodes '11

Throughout my career, I’ve worked across a wide range of sharply contrasting industries. I spent time in government, working in the epicenter of American politics at The White House. I worked in professional sports for the Miami Heat. And I’ve even worked for Google, one of the world’s most powerful companies. Working for these esteemed companies and organizations was the result of hard work, networking and developing a marketable skill set. Even then, there’s one concept that’s pushed me further than I ever thought I could go: engagement.

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Durham Academy
Joy by Lana Kalfas '19

Personally, I feel that joy can coexist with imperfection. My experience at Durham Academy is a reflection of this belief. Like any other community, DA has its flaws. What brings me joy is all of the opportunities we have to improve ourselves and the community we’re a part of.

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Durham Academy
Keeping the main thing the main thing

A friend and former colleague often repeated a nugget of advice that proves equally helpful when leading a school, building a barn, raising a child or living an ethical life. “The main thing,” he used to say, “is keeping the main thing the main thing.”

What is the “main thing” at Durham Academy? Are we a college prep school? A cauldron for character? An academy for the liberal arts and sciences? Do we exist to prepare students for success in universities? To help them excel in dynamic economies? To hone their intellects? To create servant leaders in communities across the globe?

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Michael Ulku-Steiner