Durham Academy

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We both have a history of negative experiences with DA.


I attended from 2nd grade (1972-3) and 4th through 8th grades. I had been at Duke Preschool (the precursor of today's Duke School), which I liked just fine, but my parents had decided it wasn't academically rigorous enough.

DA was the kind of school where kids would evaluate every social interaction on the basis of whether it would enhance their status or detract from it – and I was universally the kid who detracted from everyone's status.

My 2nd grade teacher made me stop signing my name as "Woozle" and made me use "Nicholas", which I disliked and came to hate (especially since it was the kind of name that the other kids liked to make fun of). "Nick" was a slight-less-awful variation which was deemed acceptable.

I suppose it would have been ok if I'd been allowed to be "Nicola" back then... I can too easily imagine them rejecting "Woozalia", even if it was my legal name (as it is now), as being too weird. DA doesn't like weird.


Harena attended for 1st grade. She was too young for public school, and it was for some reason deemed necessary for her to be in school regardless. It was terrifying. "I went in with self-esteem, and came out with none. I was so scared of my teacher (Mrs. Jones) that I peed in my pants rather than ask to use the restroom." Her parents sent her there because they were looking for a school that would be more stringent and stop her from "daydreaming".