Written by Megan Corey ‘21
Have you ever wanted to be able to learn Taiji? Or maybe Dungeons and Dragons? Students at Durham Academy are able to find their passions through clubs that cater to diverse interests, such as the Taiji Club, D&D Club, and more. There are more than 65 clubs operating on Durham Academy’s Upper School campus. Among them are three new clubs: DA for Underprivileged Students, Durham Academy Activist Club and the Poe Tea Club.
DA for Underprivileged Students is a club designed to connect students from DA with students in China through the help of the Overseas China Education Foundation (OCEF). Additionally, club, led by sophomores Declan Ross and Felix Liu prompts students in our DA community to “recognize that not everyone [around the world] is rich and well off, because that's really not true.” Liu says, “A lot of kids are struggling to stay in school, and hopefully our club can help demonstrate the reality of living in underprivileged situations.”
Liu and Ross also stress that the club not only focuses on disadvantaged students in China but addresses inequality throughout the world. Ross explains, “My old school had this partnership with a school in Afghanistan, and we even had pen pals and fundraisers. We sort of combined that idea with this [OCEF] organization to make something that had similar impacts.” Liu says that, through their new club, the two hope to “open a new sector that no other clubs at DA have opened up to” by raising money and awareness for less fortunate students focused in China.
The Durham Academy Activist Club is an engaging environment that encourages individuals to share their opinions on any social or political topic by writing notes, attending rallies and supporting their causes. Sophomores Andria Shafer and Alex Hogue, the club’s co-leaders, want to create a place where any person in the Durham Academy community can contribute to tangible change. Hogue says, “We want people to get a chance to do what they want to do. That’s why this club is so geared toward having the members decide what they care about. I know there are a lot of clubs, but no clubs seem to actively take a political stance quite like we do, and we want to do it in a way where everyone gets a say.”
In contrast with the common misconception that the Durham Academy Activist Club only takes one side on political issues, members of the club are free to express any type of idea they have. “While Alex and I have pretty similar, liberal views,” Shafer points out, “we encourage discussion where others are free to contradict us without feeling like they have to hold back. If someone does take a different stance, they shouldn’t have to [censor] what they say based on whether or not they are liberal or conservative.”
While they want to focus on expanding this year, Shafer and Hogue also hope to set up important rallies or possibly creating movements among DA students.
Finally, the Poe Tea Club, run by Marcelle Quiambao and Danae Younge, is a club committed to creating an open environment where people are free to express themselves through poetry and enjoy tea. Along with the cathartic poetry, the community of poets itself is a great reason to consider joining. Quiambao says, “It is a really great community that allows you to be vulnerable and intimate even with total strangers. That’s the beauty of slam poetry: You can express so many things with this comforting and supportive sort of family.”
Poe Tea’s leaders would love for more students to take advantage of the opportunities the club offers and realize that they do not have to participate with their own poetry. Younge says, “A lot of the hesitation toward actually coming to a meeting and seeing what it’s like is that people think that they have to bring something to read. You can just come and listen.”
With so many thriving clubs and new ones popping up on campus, students have the chance to hone their passions and discover new ones. Younge summarizes the club experience: “Everyone’s presence is really appreciated!”