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Science

Science Olympiad starts the season off right.

February 8, 2024

Earlier this month, the Middle School and Upper School Science Olympiad Teams competed in their first tournament of the season, the NCSO Raleigh Regional Tournament. Overall, The MS varsity team earned an 8th-place trophy! The Upper School varsity team placed 6th overall- earning a bid to the state tournament in April at NCSU. Cary Academy also won the first-ever Division C Conen Morgan Spirit Award. Nominations noted our students’ friendliness, politeness, thankfulness, and willingness to help other teams by lending materials and giving advice. See below for a complete list of finishes:

Middle School Results
JV:
4th in Disease Detectives – Sophie Mei (’30) & Zofia Wang(‘30)
Varsity:
6th Anatomy & Physiology – Celia Chen (’29) & Sophie Liu (‘29)
3rd Disease Detectives – Xinya Pan (’29) & Samantha Kordus (‘28)
7th Ecology – Aarnavi Boppana (’29) & Jaden Hong (‘28)
5th Forestry – Amy Zheng (’29) & Annika Liu (‘29)
6th Microbe Mission – Samantha Kordus (’28) & Mia Rochman (’28)
4th Reach for the Stars – Aarnavi Boppana (’29) & Mia Rochman (‘28) 

Upper School Results
JV: 
4th in Scrambler – Annalise Davies (‘25) & Isabel Chang (‘24)
5th in Forensics – Wells Lin (‘26) & Katie Shen (‘24)
Varsity:
2nd Air Trajectory – Alister Davis (‘26) & Ryan Chen (‘26)
2nd Forensics – Riya Bhatnagar (‘27) & Bella Huang (‘24)
5th Experimental Design – Alister Davis (‘26), Joyce Xu (‘26), & Jasmine Ye (‘24)
5th Fossils – Ian Chen (‘24) & Jasmine Ye (‘24) 
6th Forestry – Ian Chen (‘24) & Jasmine Ye (‘24)
6th Geo Mapping – Ian Chen (‘24) & Angelika Wang (‘24)
7th Astronomy – Audrey Song (‘26) & Joyce Xu (‘26)
7th Scrambler – Alister Davis (‘26) & Sebastian de Souza (‘25)

Written by Jack Swingle

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Time Well Spent

October 19, 2023

It is perhaps a (deceptively) simple question: How is your relationship with time?

I mulled over this question after reading a chapter called “Generosity with Time” in Chris Balme’s Finding the Magic in Middle Schools. As someone who teaches in middle school but lives with teenagers of various ages—especially older ones—I found it resonant, offering essential lessons that extend to kids and parents alike.

Many of us feel anxious about time. We never lose track of it. Ever. We might stand in awe (or horror) of those who breezily do. After all, we have color-coded calendars with a paper planner backup to prevent that exact occurrence. We might just be the ones who breathe a guilty sigh of relief if a surprise thunderstorm cancels a soccer practice; time is scarce, and we are not in control of it.

Then there are those people at the other end of the spectrum. Let’s call them the time-abundant mindset folks. Whoever you are, please stand over there; you’re messing up our schedules. 

All joking aside, the world often suggests to us that we should have a scarcity mindset regarding time. Whether real or not, we perceive that we don’t have enough time for All The Things.

It affects our behavior—how we talk about time hints of pressure and victimization. (“Can you hurry up and get in the car? You don’t want to be late to school and make me late to work, do you?!?,” said me, not ever. Never. *ahem*)

Indeed, I would wager that we make some of our poorer decisions as parents because of our own anxious relationship with time (and the tween and teen years are often when even the breeziest of parents shift into a higher-pressure, time-anxious mentality). The behavior that follows is often very controlling, albeit exerted in love.

Have you ever heard yourself say, “We don’t have time to wait for you to pack your gym bag; I’ll just do it for you.”  Ooops, we’ve just accidentally undermined our kid. And so begins (or continues) a generational curse of time scarcity.

Research shows that for middle and high school students to be academically resilient and prepared for all the things college and life offer, they must develop a healthy relationship with time. To get there, we need to trust our kids by granting them the space (and grace) to exercise more autonomy—to practice being in charge of their ‘when’ and ‘whats,’ to learn what time management strategies work (or don’t) for them, to fail, experience boredom, or miss something (and regret it).

Consider a new 9th grader experiencing a cherished free period for the first time. The freedom! The possibilities! THE FRAPS AT THE HUB!!! As a parent, you might be tempted to offer suggestions on how they could best spend that time (because: Homework! Practice schedules! Weekend plans!).

Here’s my advice, however: pay attention, but let these kids figure it out without us putting our anxiety onto them. 

High schoolers need to go through a period of failure with their free periods and sit in the uncomfortable repercussions of not having used their time wisely at least once. In experiencing that natural feedback and the consequences that come with it, the motivation to better manage their time becomes intrinsic. It’s how they learn to balance, pace, and spend their time to meet their academic and health needs.

During free periods, we often see our students on the Quad throwing a ball, sitting together in the winter sun, or chilling to music. We hear their witty banter during video games. Is that time misspent? Could be. (But perhaps not; research shows that mixing social connections with learning brings more focus into their actual class time. But that’s a blog for another day.)

Alternately, we may hear the clickity-clack of the speed typing of those students who may be feeling the effects of their procrastination. Or witness the ‘competitive sleep deprivation’ banter typical of many students—students who simply repeat what feels like a generational expectation, scholars who view sleep deprivation as some sort of signal of dedication.

These stories offer insights into the two opposite ends of a spectrum and underscore the importance of finding a middle ground regarding our relationship with time—one that honors both academic and social/emotional needs. After all, we want our kids to navigate life at CA and beyond with an understanding of how they can meet their academic obligations in healthy ways by effectively managing their time.

Knowing what we know about how WE have been socialized, it’s wise for us parents to be aware of how we talk about time with our children and to address our own time-related baggage. To jump-start that process, I spoke with Ms. Monds, our Director of Student Support Services and Counselor extraordinaire, and we curated this short list of suggested questions to gauge your own relationship status:

  1. Do I think that my child’s idle time will lead to problems? If so, what message is that sending to my child?
  2. Am I giving my child enough credit for managing their own schedule?
  3. Can I sit down in my own home? (If you know why I ask this, you know why I ask this.)
  4. Have I spoken about time without being a victim of it in the last few days?
  5. What do I feel when I have “idle time”?
    • Do I criticize/judge others for being idle?
    • Do I judge myself for being idle?
    • Do I create an environment for other to feel like they can relax?
  6. When was the last time I, myself, had free time that I didn’t fill with errands?

Ask even one of these questions, and we promise it will be time well spent.

Written by Josette Huntress, Head of Middle School

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A Taste of the Arts

October 5, 2023

You’ve seen the emails. Maybe you’ve purchased tickets for a show. Perhaps you’ve visited the silent auction and checked out the raffle item. But what is A Taste of the Arts?

Our fall community-building events have one primary goal: to foster a sense of connection amongst our families, students, employees, and community partners. That might be created through a reception, or a community game night, or perhaps, as it is this year, through an arts showcase (or should I say extravaganza?).

When we first began brainstorming a dinner theater, our eyes immediately became bigger than our stomachs (pun intended!). We quickly realized we couldn’t stop with a stage performance. There were too many other artistic talents in our midst! What about our pianists? Our string students, dancers, visual artists, and our behind-the-scenes arts technicians?

More than a mere taste, we quickly found ourselves looking at a Thanksgiving Feast of the Arts—an endeavor both exhilarating and daunting.

However, thanks to the remarkable creative vision of Glen Matthews and his team, we found ways to bring this vision to life. Weaving together the incredible talents of our students, the generosity of our parents and our alumni, and the extraordinary effort of employees, the Taste of the Arts is a 4-night showstopping showcase. More than that, however, it is a testament to our amazing community—to our many talents, the strength of our connection to each other, and to CA’s mission.

Imagine it. Walking up, you are greeted with a giant Charger puppet. Yes, you read that correctly: a puppet. Too tall to bring inside, it dances across the Quad welcoming you, up the red carpet, to a magical evening.

When you enter Berger Hall, your eyes need time to adjust. Do you direct your attention to the walls adorned with original pieces of work created by our students? Or to the baskets up for auction, created with time and love by groups of parents from each grade? Perhaps, instead, you check in, chatting with friends, as music floats around you (possibly even played by a group of talented young people).

While you wait for your party to arrive, you peruse the auction table and look over the details of our featured raffle. A $20,000 trip to France? Your mind whirls at the possibilities. Yes, please!

As you picture yourself in Paris, maybe you wander towards the balcony. What’s that? Scarf dancers? Yes! It is. Performing before dinner on Friday and Saturday, these performers stretch your imagination as they glide through the space below.

Bringing you back to reality, a student donned in a Taste of the Arts t-shirt—perhaps one of our many performers or theater technicians (be sure to ask!)—shares news that the doors have opened. It is time for dinner.

You make your way down the steps of the theater to your seat. But wait! You aren’t sitting in the audience, are you? No. You go up to the stage where tables are set up all around…another stage? Yes. Another one! Built on top of this one.

Settling into your seat, you take in the view, noticing the flowers (ahem…handmade by our students). You greet your tablemates. Perhaps you’re next to a parent who helped with costumes. You might have

an alum, who has returned to campus after missing out on art performances during the pandemic. Or maybe you brought a full table of guests to support someone, on stage or behind the scenes.

Returning from the buffet, you notice your placemat, featuring the names and logos of so many businesses who have helped make this performance possible. (Don’t worry—it’s okay if you spill on your friends’ business logo! We have new placemats for each night.)

After dinner and dessert, as our talented pianists play, you find yourself relaxing. The lights dim and figures appear on the stage. As the lights come up, you pause. The faces you see – why, it’s the same faces of those who helped you to your seat and bussed your table! How did they get up there so fast? As soon as they start to sing, you are immediately lost in the show.

At the end of the night, you’ll go home full—not just from the delicious food, but from the creativity and talents of this community. You’ll overflow with appreciation, not only for the magic of the final event, but for the months of creativity, collaboration, and innovation that took to bring it to fruition—for a truly mission-driven, beautiful taste of all the arts here at Cary Academy.

So, I must express my deep appreciation to everyone in this community who gave of themselves and pulled together to make this magical event happen.

(Bummed you missed out on an incredible evening? You still have a chance! Limited first-come, first-served tickets are still available for our Friday performance.)

Written by Ali Page, Director of Development

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Game On!

August 17, 2023

Welcome, everybody, to the 2023-2024 school year.

Don’t get me wrong; I love summer. I love the change of pace in the offices at Cary Academy, and the opportunity for time to both disconnect and reflect, away from the bang-bang pace of the school year. And, while I wish my physiology let me sleep in, I do enjoy the extra cup of coffee and “slower start” to a summer day.

So, while I think summer is great—and I hope that all of you found time for rest and reflection, too—I am thrilled to start the school year and welcome to campus our 789 Chargers.

Yesterday definitely brought the energy. It was great to see so many people reconnecting, swapping stories, and welcoming our 130 new students into the fold. For the past several weeks, our employees have been working together to prepare for this year – and there is always a markedly positive uplift when we welcome the students back to campus. Practice is over. Game on!

Collectively, we are focused this year on strengthening our sense of community as part of the Charger Family. Last year, we were overjoyed to see the tremendous turnout at our joint CA/PTAA community events—parents and students alike. We felt how nice it was to be “getting back to normal” and joining face-to-face in fellowship.

At the same time, we recognize that much has changed – including “normal.” This year we will continue to re-establish what it means to “do school”—as an employee, as a parent, and as a student. During yesterday’s Upper School Convocation, I was pleased to hear these same themes echoed by this year’s student leaders – a sign, if you will, that we are all rowing in the same direction in the desire to make the charger community a source of pride and positive energy.

I look forward to seeing many of you during the first PTAA Coffee of the school year at 9am on Thursday, September 7, on the second floor of the Library (A203). At that time, I will share a bit more about what we are working on this year and how these plans fit into the larger strategic goals of the school.

In the meantime, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to two important new members of the Cary Academy team – our Campus Safety Director, Cedric Herring, and Campus Safety Officer, Malika Lucas. Both joined us in the early summer and will be a visible, supportive presence during school days.

Mr. Herring was most recently a police officer at the US Department of Veterans Affairs but has had a varied and distinguished law enforcement career, including as a Sergeant in the NC State Highway Patrol, Deputy Sheriff in the Wake County Sheriff’s Office, and Cary PD Officer. Prior to his police work, Mr. Herring served as a Specialist in the US Army and did a 13-month tour of duty in Kuwait as part of Operation Desert Storm. An avid sports fan, particularly baseball, you can be sure to catch him on CA’s sidelines this year.

Ms. Lucas has served as a Wake County Deputy Sheriff and School Resource Officer in Wake County Public Schools. Outside of police work, Ms. Lucas has served in operational management roles that have given her the problem-solving and public-facing skills needed to be successful at Cary Academy.

Students will see both Mr. Herring and Ms. Lucas throughout the school day, interacting in the hallways and across the campus. The security office remains in the lobby of the CMS building, and our security phone numbers are unchanged (and are posted in our handbooks and on various doors around campus). In the evenings and on weekends, other members of the Cary Academy Office of Campus Safety will be on duty and available to support students, parents, and visitors. All our safety officers will be easily recognizable by their blue shirts and warm smiles.

Please join me in welcoming Mr. Herring and Ms. Lucas, and Game On for 2023-2024!

Written by Dr. Mike Ehrhardt, Head of School

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Chargers close out a fantastic spring season

May 11, 2023

It has been an incredible Spring season for all of Charger athletics. 

It has been an incredible spring season for all of Charger athletes. We could not be prouder of how our teams performed. Middle School, JV, varsity, and club teams all came together to learn, grow, lead, and improve as the season progressed, with many bringing home some impressive hardware and titles for their efforts. In case you missed it, here is an update on how all of our spring sports teams fared and the playoff schedule for those teams remaining. GO CHARGERS!

Baseball: 

The varsity baseball team finished their season at 15-2, clinching the TISAC conference championship. They were seeded as the #8 team in the state association and earned a “bye” for the first round of the playoffs. Their first game of the playoffs was an offensive explosion, putting up 13 points in a dominant win over Durham Academy. After that strong showing the baseball team exited the tournament following a tightly contested clash with the #1 seeded Wesleyan Christian Academy. We could not be prouder of their effort and growth this season, and we know they will be back to make a deep playoff run next year!

The Middle School baseball team finished their season in heartbreaking fashion this past Friday with a loss at St. David’s with a final score of 11-9.  The rebuilding Chargers improved consistently throughout the season and the team looks good for the future. 

Golf: 

The varsity golf team had a strong season. As a team, the Chargers finished ranked #11 in the state, and had the top 2 golfers within the state association, Bryan Fang and Timmy Kaufman, ranked #1 and #2, respectively! Timmy Kaufman was also awarded the TISAC Player of the Year! 

Boys Lacrosse:

A rejuvenated varsity boys lacrosse team improved dramatically throughout the season. Tuesday, the team traveled to Durham Academy and lost, ending their post-season bid. Regardless, we could not be prouder of how this team banded together and played hard down the stretch. 

The Middle School boys lacrosse team was undefeated in conference play, landing the #1 seed. The team defeated North Raleigh Christian and then Cary Christian in the championship game. Our Chargers are CAMS champions, and we could not be prouder of this team!

Girls Lacrosse: 

With four wins more than last year’s squad, an improving varsity girls lacrosse team’s season ended on Tuesday with an away game against Ravenscroft. We are excited to see the growth continue for this squad! Go Chargers, and congratulations on a strong season. 

The Middle School girl’s lacrosse season has also ended, but kudos to the players who had an outstanding inaugural season! We cannot wait to watch this young program continue to grow and feed talent to the varsity team! 

Soccer: 

The varsity soccer team finished 6-8 on the season and beat Saint Mary’s in their first post-season bout by a score of 5-1. After the impressive playoff debut our Chargers fought hard, but could not beat NRCA in the second round. Although they exited the playoffs earlier than they would have liked, we know they are proud of the season they spent together and the memories that were made during it!

The Middle School soccer team finished as the #7 seed in the conference and had their playoff run cut short in a game against St. Timothy’s on Monday. We are immensely proud of this team and cannot wait to see what they do next year! 

Softball:

The varsity softball team finished with a record of 12-8, placing 2nd in the conference and ranking #8 in the state association. Their first game did not go as planned against a talented Wesleyan Christian Academy team, leading to a first-round playoff exit. Our softball team put up a fight, as they have all season, and never lost faith in each other. We know great things are destined for this group next season!

The Middle School softball team finished as the #5 seed in the conference. Their season came to an end with a loss to North Raleigh Christian Academy. This team played incredibly this season, and we are all looking forward to what they will bring to the field next season! 

Tennis: 

The varsity tennis team finished the season undefeated and is ranked the #1 seed within the state association. They won their first 2 playoff games versus the #8 ranked Ravenscroft School and the #5 ranked Charlotte Latin. this set them up for a NCISAA State Championship clash at home against the #2 ranked Providence Day School. Our boys fought hard after being down 2-1 after doubles to storm back and win 5-3. Our Chargers are NCISAA State Champions!

Like the senior team, the Middle School tennis team finished conference play undefeated and ranked as the top seed in the conference. These young Chargers won matches against both Franklin Academy and North Raleigh Christian Academy in the playoffs before defeating St. Timothy’s School in the conference Championship, securing the 2023 CAMS Conference Championship. Way to go Chargers!

Track & Field: 

The varsity track and field season ended with the annual NCISAA meet. Our charger competed admirably, and many earned high individual finishes!  

Both the boys and girls MS Track & Field teams won the Capital Area Middle School Conference Championship! The girls have won all 6 championships and the boys are 5 for 6 since the meet’s inception in 2017! In addition to the team title, the following Chargers also set conference records:

Boys
Miles Cash (’27) – 200m, 400m (conference record)
Sose Arhuidese (’27) – 100m, 100mH (conference record)
Derek Qi (’28) – 50m (conference record)

Girls
Jasmine Phillips (’27) – 400m (conference record)

Find full meet results HERE! Congratulations Chargers!

Volleyball:

In its inaugural season Club Volleyball proved to be a success, both in popularity and competition. This team has consistently improved throughout the season, and we are excited to watch the program grow—not  only in our school but across all of North Carolina! 

Written by Jack Swingle

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Building Bridges: How One Conference Creates Community at CA and Beyond

March 16, 2023

“You can make what you’re passionate about become a reality […] You can always have a role!”

These rousing words, uttered by keynote speaker Dr. Ya Liu, could not have been truer to the Building Bridges Across Communities conference story. The first of its kind in Cary Academy history, the conference brought together Asian-identifying students and faculty from across multiple Triangle schools in a day of fellowship, fun, and future-oriented enthusiasm. 

It all began one year ago after Leya Tseng Jones, Isa Oon, and I returned from the Asian Educators Alliance (AsEA)conference in California. Invigorated and inspired by the work of Asian diaspora educators from across the country, we immediately began plans to bring a similar necessary experience to our community through connections at other local schools. As Leya explained,  “Collaborating and building strong working partnerships with our counterparts at Durham Academy and Ravenscroft was so rewarding; witnessing the initiative, organization, and collaboration of our student leaders with their counterparts was truly inspiring. Each group took the lead on one component of our morning and thoughtfully managed every detail. I couldn’t be more impressed with what they accomplished together over just a few Zoom meetings of face-to-face time.” 

From the beginning, it was clear to this union, known as the Asian American Alliance, that the conference should not only be student-focused, but student-led. Three student leaders and members of the Upper School Asian American Pacific Islander Affinity Group, senior EJ Jo, junior Eric Xie, and junior Angela Zhang, each took a large role in organizing with other student leaders as well as fellow affinity group students. When asked about how close the first vision was to the final result, the answers were positive. 

“Initially, we wanted to invite a keynote and have a few sessions for discussion,” Angela said. “The result was just that; it was very similar to what we originally thought.” Eric added, “Our turnout was great, especially on such short notice, and every participant definitely seemed to want to be there and actively participated in the group activities and asked insightful questions to our keynote speaker, Dr. Liu. Looking back, there’s very little I would change, if anything at all.”

On Wednesday, March 8, Cary Academy students were joined by members of Durham Academy, Ravenscroft, St. Mary’s School, and the Montessori School of Raleigh. First on the agenda was the keynote address by Dr. Ya Liu, highlighting the connection between the personal and the political.

“I didn’t intend to be a leader,” Dr. Liu told the audience after outlining her impressive experience in community organizing. “It’s precisely because of the work I did. You may think, ‘I’m just a middle schooler, I’m just a high schooler, what can I do?’ […] A lot of these experiences will become part of who you are.” Dr. Liu went on to encourage students to seek out resources from beyond their schools and to “find the friends who will support you. Find the teachers who will support you.” 

Following the speaker, all participants were separated into randomized groups to experience a spectrum activity in which members were asked to discuss the intersections of their identity and what effects this had on their relationship with themselves and others. Students then attended one of several student-only workshops while adults exchanged encouragement and visions for the future in a different affinity group. 

“In both discussion sessions, I heard from many students about their experiences with their ethnicity and race,” Angela recalled of the student portion. “Even though I had never met these students before, it seemed that we had experienced the variation of a common struggle: our adolescent urge to be ‘white.’ So it surprised me how isolated everyone felt compared to how everyone was going through the same thing. Therefore, my biggest takeaway is that we were and are never alone.”

On the adult side, Leya observed that “There are so few Asian-identifying faculty/staff in our schools. We – the adults – need to find time to gather, even if virtually, to connect and support each other. Our brief time together was affirming and empowering.” 

When I looked around the Discovery Studio at the fellowship lunch, it was clear that every person present felt fulfilled and connected. In a world where being Asian American can often lead to so much stress and pressure from many sources, the beauty of Asian diasporic joy becomes not only a delight but a necessity. Looking forward, I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we all intend to keep building this reality we’re so passionate about.

Written by Lauren Bullock, Language Arts and World Cultures Teacher

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Beyond the numbers

February 9, 2023

CA’s website proudly proclaims that we “cultivate bold lifelong learners and world changers.” It is a bold statement, for sure, and one that we aim to deliver through our innovative and relentless commitment to the pursuit of discovery, innovation, excellence, and collaboration.  

But what does that look like in practice?  

Perhaps one of the most impactful venues where students are empowered to pursue their interests—often to impressive, change-making results—is our student-led clubs program. A protected part of the Upper and Middle School weekly schedules, clubs are an essential aspect of the student experience, offering a chance to try new things, take risks, pursue passions, share experiences, try on leadership roles, and even create positive change in our local community.  

Don’t take it from me, though.  

I’m going to turn it over to junior Tanya Sachdev, founder of the Students Together Assisting Refugees (STAR) club, to share her club’s origins, goals, and the ways in which our community can come together to support local refugees in our community (spoiler alert: STAR has an informative, engaging and awareness-generating event ahead). 

From Tanya Sachdev, ’24: 

Numbers. We hear them every time we turn on the news. They define our perception of the word “Refugee”: 89.3 million forcibly displaced people, 28 million total refugees in our world (UNHCR). To some, these may just be statistics, but for others, these numbers are their world. The Global Refugee Crisis has become a humanitarian crisis impacting millions of people in our world. Through war, persecution, and natural disasters, the crisis continually expands. 

I learned about the importance of these numbers when I was driving to school in August of 2021. NPR was turned on in the background, sharing about the Afghan Refugee Crisis. As I listened, I was shocked about how little I knew about the word “refugee”. Through researching the Afghan Refugee Crisis, I was perturbed by headlines stating the extent of this crisis. Stories of young children scaling the Hindu Kush mountains or braving the Aegean Sea to escape into freedom headlined my screen. While I was purchasing a new backpack for the school year, thousands of Afghans were packing their backpacks with their most valued possessions for a long journey to find safety; their worlds were changing forever.  

To learn more, I began volunteering at local organizations such as Refugee Hope Partners and CWS Durham. Through tutoring students like “Malia”, a Syrian refugee, or “KK”, a refugee from Botswana, I began to learn their stories and identity beyond the label of “refugee”. I wanted to be able to use my opportunity to give back to the refugee community. As a result, STAR (Students Together Assisting Refugees) Club began in December of 2021. Through Cary Academy’s emphasis on student-led clubs, I was able to create STAR during the middle of the year. With Cary Academy’s support, STAR was able to raise donations, money, and most importantly, awareness. 

After all, STAR began with a sole goal: awareness. Labels such as IDPs, asylum-seekers, and refugees continually pervade news stations with audiences confounded by the differences between the terms. Numbers appear in the form of statistics such as 50% of world refugees are children or nearly 100 million displaced people (UNHCR). The refugee crisis, however, is more than a crisis of numbers and labels. It is a crisis of human suffering. Refugees face unbelievable hardships on their journey to freedom. From being denied basic rights such as education or healthcare to facing violence, abuse, and exploitation, refugees withstand constant adversity. Raising awareness has become a key component to helping local and global refugee organizations.  

One month into the inception of STAR Club at Cary Academy, the Russia-Ukrainian war caused the “fastest growing refugee crisis since World War II” (UNHCR) with nearly 2.9 million refugees fleeing Ukraine. From Syria to Afghanistan to Ukraine, the Global Refugee Crisis remains continuous and unrelenting. As a society, now more than ever, awareness and action have become imperative to support refugees.  

As a result, STAR Club is hosting its first Dinner with a Documentary event on Tuesday, February 28, 2023, from 6 PM-8 PM in the Discovery Studio. The free event will begin by watching “Refugee” by Alexander J Farrell, a true story following a Syrian family separated by the borders of Europe. Their harrowing and emotional journey will be followed by a panel discussion with invited experts. Panelists include representatives from refugee organizations, law students, and even a brief virtual appearance from Congresswoman Ross. The event will be complemented by an authentic Mediterranean dinner spread, complete with desserts and drinks. Be prepared to be moved to tears, to be angry, and for your perception of refugees to be forever changed. 

Please sign up for this unique event as soon as possible- spots are limited. https://www.signupgenius.com/go/8050c4faaa823a75-star#/ 

Written by Mandy Dailey, Director of Communications

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Sports Round-up: Fall ’22 Season

December 15, 2022

With the conclusion of the Fall 2022 season, Cary Academy Athletics can proudly report that its seven Varsity teams produced Conference Champions, All-State Athletes, and lasting memories.

Starting on the pitch, Varsity Boys Soccer put together an impressive season, concluding with their deepest playoff run in recent school history. The team fell to heavily favored #3 seed Wesleyan Christian in the quarter finals- but not before a thrilling win over higher seeded Charlotte Latin in double overtime on a “Golden Goal,” (the first goal scored in sudden-death extra time) by Eric Ye (’24), assisted by Ibrahim Elbeck (’23). The Chargers proudly had three 2nd Team All-Conference players, (Chris Kelly (’24), Eric Ye (’24), Ryan Newnam (’23), two 1st Team All-Conference players (Ibrahim Elbeck (’23), Kainoa Kaliebe (’23)), and one All-State player, Elbeck (’23), who broke the school record for goals in a season with 22.

Shifting gears, Varsity Girls Golf finished off their season with a strong performance in the NCISAA State Meet, coming in 4th place- the best team finish to date for the program. In the NCISAA Individual Rankings, Aviva Wang (’26) placed 15th overall, Angelika Wang (’24) came in two spots after her at 17th, and EJ Jo (’23) placed 21st out of 90. Along with her ranking, Aviva Wang (’26) made the All-Conference team.

Travelling back to the Stadium Field, Varsity Field Hockey ended their season with some hardware, earning the honors of being Conference Champions- a feat that they have now accomplished in back-to-back seasons. The team proudly had two All-State representatives, Alessia Cicuto (’24) and Tanya Sachdev (’24). When asked what stood out about this season, Caroline Parker (’23) highlighted how unified, driven, and supportive the team was. “It made each win so much more exciting seeing all the hard work of every single person to get that win, and the fact that we could celebrate together afterwards and enjoy it after all that effort. Everyone worked for each other, as a team, and was unstoppable when we were all connected to one another.”

Back in the gym, Varsity Volleyball started their season off with a bang by winning the bronze division in the Charlotte Tournament in August and ended their season with a bye in the first round of the State Tournament before hosting the second round. The team sent two representatives to the All-Conference team, Sydney Ross (’23) and Addie Canady (’25). Looking back on the season, Mia Nesbeth (’23) remembers fondly the tearful hugs after the last match, citing the lasting friendships that went well beyond the painted lines of the court as her favorite souvenir from her time with the Varsity Volleyball program.

Moving over to the Tennis Courts, members of the Varsity Girls Tennis team highlighted two particularly memorable matches. The first was a dominant Senior Night performance, with the team’s seven seniors enjoying both a tribute to their times with the program and a resounding 9-0 victory. The second was when the team played spoiler on rival school Saint Mary’s Senior Night. All-State team member Nousha Tehrani (’23) warmly recalls how the team came together, came prepared, and came armed with a vengeance after losing to Saint Mary’s at Cary Academy earlier in the season.

And finally concluding on the running paths winding around campus, Varsity Cross Country completed yet another remarkable season with the Girls team finishing second in their conference and the Boys team finishing first. The Boys team went on to finish as State Runners-Up at the NCISAA meet. Kavi Gibson (’26) landed on the front page of NC Runners, with the 3rd fastest time in NC ever for a freshman, (just two seconds behind CA alum, Thomas Graham). Each team had four All-Conference runners, and combined, the two teams had four All-State Runners:  Elise Boyse (’23), Kavi Gibson (’26), Arran Swift (’23) and Thomas George (’24). Gibson also took home the honors for Conference Runner of the Year. When asked about his time in the Varsity XC program, Will Capps (’23) thoughtfully shared his favorite memories of sprinting through early-morning practices, laughing during Coach Hall’s sermons, and especially, finding an amazing community that supports him both on and off the cross-country course.

Congratulations to our fall teams, athletes, and everyone who contributed to their successes!

Written by Amy Snively, Senior Class President

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Gravel Road Lessons: The Serendipity of an X Day

September 29, 2022

I swear I’m not making this up. Just ask Max, or Coach Hall, or any of the students who were on the bike trip—they can corroborate the details.

Here’s a bit of the backstory. Several weeks ago, Max had asked me if I was willing to help with an X Day centered around biking—specifically, gravel biking through Umstead State Park. I cheerfully agreed for two reasons, even before he really finished asking the question: first, I knew that Max would put together a great experience for his peers and the adults who happened to tag along, as he has led previous X Day and Flex Day activities. And second, I love to bike.

True to expectations, Max crafted a lovely day. We gathered in front of the CMS on Wednesday morning, helmeted and biked and watered. Max reminded us of some necessary details. We discussed the route. Maps were shown, tire pressures double checked, roll taken.

At 9:20, nine of us—two adults, seven Upper School students–pedaled past the Upper School, the Admin Building, the Middle School, and then out to Research Drive. A quick jaunt across North Harrison, a zip through the neighborhoods, and we found ourselves on the greenway, which led us to the Old Reedy Creek Road parking area by Lake Crabtree.

Max stopped us again, making sure we were all good before starting up the gravel road. We gulped some water and chatted a moment about the downhill through the neighborhood (which meant a crazy climb through the neighborhood when we returned), and then we pedaled up Old Reedy Creek Road. Over the course of the next twelve miles or so, we huffed and puffed up hills, roared down downhills (all while staying true to our comfort zones), and watched out for each other. Naturally, we stopped periodically to catch our breath and keep the group together.

At one of those moments, late in the ride, we were paused on the edge of the gravel road when a white-haired gentleman came over the hill, striding toward us. He stopped when he saw us on our bikes.

“Hello,” he said, looking at the students. “Is this a class?”

We explained that we were a school group, that on this day we were taking the learning outside the school walls.

“Oh,” he said. “Tell me what you are learning!”

Max explained not only the activities that we were doing, but also a number of the associated skills.

The gentleman smiled. “That’s wonderful,” he said. “And it’s so important to keep learning! I’m 85 years old, and I’m still learning and still moving! That’s why I hike these trails every day. If you limit yourself to the rocking chair, you won’t get up again!”

He told us about working hard, starting in his late teens, and finding success in his roles. He talked about retiring once in his fifties, getting bored and starting his own business and retiring in his 70s, and then volunteering—now well into his 80s. “I probably volunteer about 50 hours per week,” he confided. “And that’s what’s really important,” he added. “Helping others—that’s when you are really successful, when you can add to your community.”

We thanked him, wished him well, and then started our way back to campus. At one of our final stops, Adi said, “So what did you think of what the gentleman said?” A number of us marveled at his age—he may have been 85, but he looked much younger. Several of us reflected on his message: we are truly successful when we help others. Those thoughts stayed with us as we cycled back to school, retracing our earlier path.

That afternoon, under Max’s guidance, we shifted to other aspects of the day: how to plan bike routes, how to develop one’s biking skills. But most of us reflected, individually or in small groups, on the chance encounter, on yet another lesson outside the classroom, one that none of us were expecting.

By its very nature, we can’t plan for serendipity. But we can make sure that the conditions are ripe (yay X Days!), that we welcome learning and lessons and joy not only inside the classroom walls, but outside as well—even if it’s on the dusty gravel road in the middle of a state park where we hear a gentle reminder about what’s really important in our world.

Written by Robin Follet, Head of Upper School

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