The Cycle of Student Life at Durham Nativity

April 3, 2012

By Dr. Dan Vannelle, Head of School

“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. It’s not who you are, it’s who you can become.”

Each spring we welcome a new group of fifth graders to Saturday Academy, the first step in our admissions process. The young men are vying for a spot in the fall’s sixth grade class. Many are reluctant, some are timid, a few are fearful. The thought of attending an all boys’ school from 7:45 in the morning to 6:00 in the evening, completing two plus hours of homework each day and wearing a uniform that consists of a French blue shirt and striped tie is not particularly appealing to a ten year old. The truth be told practically all are here because Mom, Dad or perhaps Grandma insist.

Each spring we prepare also to send off our eighth graders to independent high schools like The Asheville School, St. Andrews and Durham Academy. They leave us excited, confident and prepared to face the challenges that lie ahead. Also each spring we revel in the news that our graduates who are now high school seniors are enrolling in colleges such as NC State, Elon and Cornell.

These are the same reluctant, timid and fearful young men that showed up for Saturday Academy a few years ago. What’s changed? Time for sure, but more that that. They have tasted knowledge, been challenged to do and be their best, been held accountable for their effort and attitude. They’ve been knocked down; they’ve gotten up. They have worked very hard. They’ve persevered; they’ve been transformed.

“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. It’s not who you are, it’s who you can become”.