2022-23 School Year

Welcome new sixth graders! We are starting the year off as if everything is back to normal! The pandemic really set us back for a few years. Some of us are still wearing masks but we are able to be in school full time and have masks optional policies. We are staying healthy! Our sixth grade class was able to take an overnight trip to Camp Hanes nestled in the NC Mountains (first overnight trip in 2 1/2 years!) Below is one of many photos taken. We are kicking off the year with a new set of blog posts. Please check out the blog roll in the side bar to see what my students are writing about so far this year.


Photo take by Mrs. Williams at Camp Hanes in NC

Blogging 2020-2021

A big welcome to the sixth grade class of 2021-2022! For some of you, this will be the first time that you have had the opportunity to manage your very own blog! I invite you to take advantage of your worldwide audience and write about topics that really interest you! I hope that you will enjoy sharing and connecting through your posts with other students your age. Have fun and put forth your best!

2019-2020 School Year

Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year! Students in sixth grade Language Arts will be doing a great deal of writing for their personal blogs this year. Students will use their blogs to reflect their own interests, hobbies, activities, trips and accomplishments. We will post written work and projects that we are completing in class as well as participating in the 2019 Student Blogging Challenge (visit the link to read more about this). Students will read each other’s blogs and leave comments throughout the year, and I invite student families to do the same! I hope you enjoy reading our blogs! Simply scroll through the class blog rolls on this page to find individual student blogs-  and Happy Reading!


Check out our Student Blogs!

By scrolling through the blog roll on this site, you are able to access each of the individual student blogs written by my students this year. They are a very talented group with lots of great stories to share. I encourage you to leave some comments and let them know what you think about their posts! Have fun!

Photo from Potato Gleaning this past fall



Exterior 1

Photo of the Friday Center of Continuing Education


Chapel Hill, North Carolina

As of January 16th, 2015, I have begun my half year sabbatical. I want to thank Durham Academy for the unique and generous opportunity that has been provided for me to spend the spring semester of the 2014-2015 school year on sabbatical. I thought I would share some of my plans for the semester.  As stated in my sabbatical proposal, I plan to use the time learning about the field of Digital Humanities.  As I began to research the best strategy to accomplish this goal, I came across the name Tim Marr on the UNC-CDHI website. I have had the good fortune to know and to work with Durham Academy’s own History teacher, Paula Marr for many years.  Paula’s husband, Dr. Tim Marr, is coincidentally a faculty member of UNC-Chapel Hill in the department of American Studies. He also serves as a member of the Faculty Steering Committee for the Carolina Digital Humanities Initiative and as a member of the Digital Innovation Lab Advisory Board. His current work involves employing digital tools to analyze the Civil War poetry of Herman Melville.  Tim was kind enough to meet with me and provide guidance on the best way to spend my semester exploring this exciting field.  Among a tremendously rich list of resources, he mentioned an English course that is offered this spring semester at UNC.  After reading the description, I realized that this would be a perfect launching point for my studies. I have enrolled in English 530 through UNC Chapel Hill’s Friday Center for Continuing Education.  A detailed description of the course follows. I eagerly anticipate a semester filled with reading, thinking, writing and learning. I am nervous about exams, papers and deadlines, but welcome the time to rejuvenate the innate academic curiosity that led me to the teaching profession in the first place. Thank you again for this amazing opportunity. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

ENGL 530: Digital Humanities History and Methods
The following are a few course descriptions generated by my instructor Dr. Ashley Reed

“The digital humanities has received much attention in the last few years in both the popular press and the professional and scholarly journals in which academics communicate with one another. Much of this attention—positive and negative—has been based on scant knowledge of the actual work performed by digital humanists. This course will give you a thorough introduction to the topics, tools, and techniques that animate the field of digital humanities. If you are already working in the digital humanities, or hope to, this course should both broaden and deepen your understanding of the scholarly work that has been and continues to be done under the mantle of “DH.”
ENGL 530: Digital Humanities History and Methods will offer an introduction to the wide range of research and teaching applications that come under the rubric of “digital humanities.” Digital humanists use technology to answer traditional questions about literature, language, history, art, and music—and to ask new questions. They design online archives for studying the works of William Blake, Emily Dickinson, and Vincent Van Gogh; use text mining algorithms to discover linguistic patterns in thousands of nineteenth-century novels; create galleries to showcase student writing and research; map social networks of the ancient world; and in the process redefine what it means to create and disseminate knowledge. ”

“ENGL 530: Digital Humanities History and Methods will provide interested students, scholars, teachers, and professionals with a thorough grounding in the fundamentals of digital humanities work and prepare them to pursue their own teaching and research projects. The course is designed for graduate students, post-secondary instructors, K-12 educators, cultural heritage professionals, and independent scholars who wish to know more about the topics, tools, and techniques that are bringing the humanities into the digital age.”

ENGL 530 meets online January 7 – May 5, 2015, and is open to UNC students as well as scholars and students not currently affiliated with UNC.

My Hero

For my hero I have chosen my grandfather, Robert Price Sneed. My brother and I call him Pop or Poppy and others call him Bob Sneed. Bob is seventy-two years old and was born on September 4, 1940 in Durham, North Carolina. Bob started working at a service station and a filling station when he was growing up. During the summer, Bob worked on a fishing boat and then worked for a company called Moore Business Forms which he worked for twenty years and left. After, he started a company called Triangle Business Forms, he retired in 2008 and my dad has taken over and changed the name to MaraBull. Bob currently lives in Durham, North Carolina with his wife Sarah Sneed. Before he lived in Rocky Mount for four and a half years, and this is where my dad was born. Bob was born into a family with a father, mother, and two siblings, Ed and Betty Jean. His parents names were Carolyn Kime Sneed and Edward Price Sneed. Edward was a pharmacist at a drugstore and Bob wanted to be just like his father growing up. He got along with his siblings as a young boy and then he and his brother separated as they grew up. Unfortunately, the rest of his family has died. He went to Hope Valley Elementary School from first grade to tenth grade and Southern High School from eleventh grade through twelfth and the University of North Carolina for college. Bob played basketball at his high school and baseball, football, and basketball at his elementary school. In college he participated in water polo for one year. In the summertime Bob and his family lived on a 45-foot boat on the beach and he loved to ski and ride bikes. “I had a great life and was always busy,” said Bob. When Bob was a child his family had a dog named Bonnie and two cats. One was named Blacky and he does not remember the other. Their family also had three ponies for each kid. They had a nice fence and grassy area to keep the ponies in. Ronnie Strickland is Bob’s best friend, and they have known each other since first grade and still are friends! Bob told me that the best thing that has ever happened to him are his children and grandchildren. Some of the worst things that have happened to him is that his friend got killed in a hunting accident. Also, right after his daughter Beth was born, he had blood clots that almost cost him his life. The last thing that has happened to him is that my grandmother got cancer but was able to survive her tough times. Bob loved to read as a child, his favorite thing to read about were cowboys and Indians. He also loved to collect mini figures of cowboys and Indians. He still does that today.


My hero is very unique. He loves to joke around and play with family! Whenever I am sad or lonely, which I never am when I am around him, he will always be there to cheer me up! At dinner, Bob is always trying to find a way to make anyone laugh and is always telling stories. I love to go over to his house and have him make up and tell me stories. There is one story that I always laugh at, and it’s something with a fork, a hand and food! Another reason that Bob is unique is that he loves to go outside and garden! I love to go outside in his backyard and run around, I always wished that I had his backyard because I have always thought it was the coolest and most mysterious yard I have ever been in! This is why I think my hero is unique!


My hero is helpful. He is always asking people if they need help or any way he can assist them. Bob will never put down a chance to take my brother and me somewhere or to do something. Whenever my family goes out of town for the weekend or week, he and Sarah are always willing and excited to take care of my very energetic dog, a pug named Taco! Taco loves to go over to their house and run around in their awesome back yard and go on long walks! This is why I think my hero is one of the most helpful people in my world!


My hero is satisfied. He has “All he needs,” he told me in our interview, “Children, grandchildren, a daughter-in law, a wife, a house, and also food on their plates every day.” Bob is never greedy or selfish, and he always puts other people before himself. At dinners before he serves himself, everyone else who attends serves themselves first. He is happy because he does not need the material things in the world, he just needs family, friends, and a good dog. After talking with Bob, I have realized that all his memories happened with friends, and family members, not with the stuff that he got for Christmas or any other holiday. This is why I think my hero is satisfied.


The reason I have chosen Robert Price Sneed as my hero is for many reasons. He is always kind, helpful, funny, and so many more things I could list! He is and will always be one of my heroes in my life.. I love Facetiming him and listening to all of his stories that he tells. Some are funny and some are sad. I think it is fascinating how many interesting life experiences he has been through and continues to have. I could have chosen anyone else as my hero but no one could compare to my Poppy. I always have a blast wherever I am with him or when he comes over! I have had so much fun finding out cool and interesting stories about Bob Sneed, and he will always be a big part of my life and who I grow up to be!


My Hero

Here’s the inside:

And here’s the outside:

My hero and cousin, Hunter Bowman, is 20 years old and was born in Savannah, Georgia on December 19, 1992. He has lived there ever since then, except for college. His mother is named Catherine, his father is named Cam, and his sister is named Sarah. Hunter had a very happy childhood. He enjoyed making model planes and playing football, basketball and soccer. He loved to read and his favorite book was The Hobbit by J.R.R.Tolkien. His best friends were Raul Buelvas and Jimmy Brauner. Sadly, Raul died of cancer on December 25, 2011. Hunter’s favorite family vacation was a trip to Africa in 2012. He remembered all of the awesome African animals such as the lion. Hunter was a great student. His pets have been Luke the dog, Claude the cat, Leia the dog, and a shrimp. One of the best moments in his life is the time when he learned how to wrestle. He also has many good character traits which make him my hero. Here are a few.

One characteristic that Hunter Bowman has is perseverance. When his very good friend had cancer, he and a lot of other people got together and shaved their heads. His friend lost his hair because of the medicine he took, so Hunter and his friends decided that it would make him feel more comfortable if they all got rid of their hair too. They used it as a fundraiser for his friend’s cancer. I think this was a very brave thing for him to do because it required him to have lots of confidence and perseverance. Another thing that Hunter did was become an Eagle Scout. This is the top rank in boy scouts and only 5% of boy scouts make it to Eagle Scout. As you can see this would take lots of perseverance to achieve. Hunter is on the Vanderbilt football team but he hasn’t gotten to play in a football game yet. He is still training hard with the team with the hope that one day he will be able to play in a game. This, of course, also takes lots of perseverance. As you can see this is an outstanding character trait in my cousin, Hunter.


Hunter is a very generous person. He is always willing to share. For example he shared lots of his cookies with my sister and me. He also raised money to build a study place for homeless people. He helped build it and the whole thing was organized by him. It takes generosity to give that much of your time helping others. He also is always willing to play football or do other stuff with me, even if he has other things to do. I had a very long homework assignment, and he helped me get it done even though it took a long time. Hunter is always looking for ways to help even if it means a whole lot of hard work. Hunter is one of the most generous people I know.

Hunter is also very determined. If he sets out to do something he will definitely do it. As I told you earlier, he has trained very hard with the hope that one day he will be able to play in a game with the Vanderbilt football team. He used to build model planes, he told me, even if they were very hard to build. He also fishes for hours on end, even if it takes that long to catch a fish. I think that fishing takes lots of determination. He has trained his dog for a long time because he is obviously determined to have a good, obedient dog. One reason he is so determined is because both his parents have been very determined people. He never, ever gives up.

My cousin, Hunter, has influenced my life by giving me someone to look up to. He has inspired me to help others and never, ever give up. Without his inspiration, I would never be able to finish a hard homework problem or work hard when I am challenged. Hunter has always been nice to me and he has given me ideas for science experiments and school projects. He has taught me to be determined and generous with other people. He has also taught me good manners which can be very useful at parties. He has inspired me to give to Urban Ministries. Urban Ministries is an organization that gives food and supplies to homeless people. I admire my cousin Hunter and I am so lucky to have him in my life.


My Hero by Ellen Cochran

This is a copy of my Hero story. My hero was Debbie Suggs, my first grade teacher.

When I first heard that my English class was doing a hero project, I knew my hero had to be someone special. Someone who really meant something to me. I went through a list of names in my head, but there was only a few that I kept coming back to. One of them was Debbie Suggs. She is kind, warm-hearted, and gracious. I knew at once that she was the one special person. So, my hero is Debbie Suggs. Mrs. Suggs was my first grade teacher, and is at the top of my “favorite teacher” list even today. She is now 58 years old, and is still teaching in the very same first grade class that she taught when I was in first grade. Mrs. Suggs was welcomed into the world on December 18, 1954 in Richmond, Virginia. When Mrs. Suggs was five, she moved to Durham, North Carolina, and has lived there ever since. She grew into a caring, happy child that would one day change the lives of so many young children. When she was a girl, Mrs. Suggs was scared to go to school each morning. She would hide on the sidewalk when the bus came. Strangely, she learned to like school in the end and now loves to teach and be at school every day. That’s only a bit of her history, but before anything else, let me tell you why I picked Debbie Suggs for my hero.

First, Mrs. Suggs has perseverance in everything she does. When she was a kid, Mrs. Suggs was a big Duke basketball fan, but there was one player in particular who she really liked. His name was Dick DeVenzio. In fact, she told me that she wanted to meet Dick one day and marry him! She did not ever give up on this goal, and her perseverance paid off. One time, when Mrs. Suggs was in high school, Dick DeVenzio came to her school to talk to her class. At first she didn’t think it was him, but when she found out it was, she got to shake his hand and talk to him. Her goal had been accomplished! Well, almost. She never did marry Dick, but she persevered and got to shake his hand. Overall, I think this is one of her many good features that makes her a hero!

Second, Mrs. Suggs is determined. Mrs. Suggs had a happy childhood. Everyone went to public school, and no one really had many belongings that they had to worry about all of the time. When she was a child, she always knew she wanted to make a difference in the world. She loved to play sports to pass the time in those days. She played soccer, volleyball, and basketball. She loved sports but she realized that there were not many sports for girls when she was young. She knew that girls could do just as much as boys if they put their minds to it. She kept playing sports and did not allow the fact that most of her teammates were boys bother her. From what Mrs. Suggs told me, I believe she still loves sports. Most importantly, she wants to continue to make a difference and make the world around her a better place.

Finally, Mrs. Suggs is adventurous. When she was a young girl, Mrs. Suggs did not like to read. She had trouble with it and was not very good. Reading made her afraid of going to school every morning and getting on the bus when it came to pick her up. She really tried to learn though, and she wanted to be good at it. One year, Mrs. Suggs had a great teacher who helped her to learn to read. She ended up loving to read and, in fact, Mrs. Suggs was the wonderful teacher who got me hooked onto reading and now, I love to read just like her. Those are three characteristics that Mrs. Suggs has that makes her a hero.

Mrs. Suggs has really influenced me and the way I live not just in first grade, but also over the years. She told me, “For the first two weeks of first grade, Ellen, you reminded me of myself when I was young. You were shy and didn’t have confidence, but after those first two weeks, you were in full blossom and you seemed to me like the perfect student.” She encouraged me to read and put others first, and she has always supported me to do my best. Mrs. Suggs’s lessons have stayed with me my whole life and taught me to be the kind of person I am today. I can’t think of anything better a hero can do for you. That is why I chose Mrs. Suggs to be my hero.

This is a picture of my Hero book.


My hero project

On March 5th, 1968 David Hoffman was born in Denver, Colorado. In my opinion that was a great day in the mile-high city. However, his parents divorced when he was four and when he was seven he moved with his mother and sister to Buffalo, New York. My dad missed his father and he missed the mountains, and he didn’t like it in Buffalo where it was cold all the time. He was a good student, particularly in Math and in 1986 he graduated from Hamilton College in the top 20 percent of his class. “One of the best things that ever happened to me was when I met your mother,” he said. David Hoffman currently works to support his family, has a loving wife, and two sons.

My dad is loyal. He is loyal because he supports his entire family and works at a very stressful job. Even so, he has always said that you should live your life as you think is best. Another example of his loyalty is that he believes that family and country are two of the most important things in life. An example of his loyalty to America is that he works in the top branches of the government with the National Security Agency and Homeland Security. Being there when your family needs you is also one of my dad’s most important traits.

My dad is strong. An obvious example of that is simply this; his parents divorced when he was four and his mom and his sister moved when he was seven. Think about that! Imagine, you are seven years old not really understanding why you can’t see both your parents and then you move halfway across the United States. You have to adapt to an entirely different life and keep on moving on. In my opinion that takes strength. Also, throughout his life my dad could always have complained, taken the easy path and maybe not ended up being who he is now. One thing I know for certain about my dad is that no matter how hard the going is, he will keep moving on.

My dad is generous. He is generous with his time, being a sports coach, a Boy Scouts leader, and a Sunday School leader. He is generous at his job. When many people come to him for help and advice, he listens carefully and makes a decision regarding what he knows and what he thinks is right. He is generous with his family as well. I can not name a time when my dad has treated me unfairly. He is also the first one to apologize if he makes a mistake. That can be hard for grown ups! Finally, he is generous because he will always go above and beyond for someone close to him who truly needs it.

My dad has had a big impact on my life. He taught me the basics for finding right from wrong. I have had problems that I was unsure of how to fix, like what to say to a mean kid, or should I help my best friend find the answers on a test? Every time I come to my dad seeking answers, I have always left feeling like it was answered to its fullest extent. My father has nurtured me, cared for me and helped me grow up. When I am sad, he will comfort me and try to make me feel better. When I am sick he will hover over me and constantly ask me “Do you need anything?” Once when I had swine flu, my dad came into my room and stayed with me until I fell asleep. Lastly, my dad has always been there for me. Whenever I need him or wherever I am, I know he is always right there behind me. So, I would say that without my dad I would not be the same person I am today.


 Hero Book



My Hero By: Aneesha M

My Hero: Coach Grace Silva By: Aneesha

Grace Silva was born on March 31 in Nigeria. She is currently 24 years old and is agraduate student at UNC. At a young age she had three older brothers and played a lot ofsports including basketball, soccer, swimming, tennis and many other sports. Her dad hada Ph.D. in Physical Science and Health so many sports were open to her. Growing up inBaltimore, Maryland, she liked to be funny and loved to go on vacations to Busch Gardensand Washington, DC. She loved reading in her free time. Her favorite books were theBabysitter’s Club Book Series and anything written by C. S. Lewis. Her favorite subjectwas math. She has earned many awards including Maryland State Basketball Championship and Meyerhoff Scholarship Award, which she said were the two best thingsthat happened to her. For undergraduate school, she was admitted to the University ofMaryland School of Medicine for her strong academics and Savannah College for heramazing basketball playing from high school. She took the scholarship to the University ofMaryland saying, “Academics are more important than sports,” and afterwards decided togo to the University of North Carolina for graduate school. She currently works as agraduate student researcher at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. She hasworked extremely hard in her life and her own personal hero is Ben Carson; aneurosurgeon at John Hopkins University. Grace is an amazing person and here is why sheis my hero.

Grace Silva has a lot of perseverance. She never gives up and keeps going. She hasfaith and hope in everybody and it makes me feel like I could and should reach higher.When she is around, I feel like I should never give up and keep on trying no matter whathappens. As my basketball coach, she inspires me in my everyday life to continue on andto never stop. If one approach doesn’t work, she will get around it and find another waybecause she doesn’t want to quit. She doesn’t just stop because something is difficult. Shewill work hard until she achieves her goals. I really admire her for this trait.

My hero Grace is also patient. She is patient because on my basketball team, we messup a LOT. But Grace moves on and tries to help us improve. Instead of yelling andcriticizing like some coaches do, she starts us over and has us practice again. Grace isbeyond patient. She controls her emotions really well and is not the person who holdsgrudges. If we can’t do something during basketball practice, she won’t move on until everysingle person on my team gets it. She does that because she cares about every single oneof us and doesn’t want anyone to fall behind. She takes things slowly and makes sureeverybody finishes. She will never give up on anybody. I admire Grace for her patience andhope I can be like that one day.

Last but not least, Grace is caring. She cares about everybody and their feelings andmakes sure everybody is okay. Also, Grace always boosts my confidence and makes mefeel better whenever I see her. She pays attention to every person on the team. If we are atpractice and somebody gets injured, she will help them and make sure they are okaybefore continuing. I respect and appreciate Grace for her caring attitude toward our team. She is unique in that she puts others before herself.

Coach Grace has had a huge impact on my life. She pushes me to do my best andrecognizes my potential. She finds ways for me to improve before I can even think about itmyself. As my basketball coach she works hard to help me reach my full potential. I feel likeI can tell her anything and she will understand. I’m glad that I’ve met her because she bringsthe best out of people especially on my team and never gives up. She sets a good
example for everyone who knows her by working really hard in her life. This is why I choseCoach Grace as my hero; because she cares, understands and makes me feel like I can
do anything I want if I just try. She has a special connection to me and I really love that shebelieves in me. She is more than just a basketball coach and I love that she is in my life.