Play it Your Way

By Arin A Drtil

Photographing Coach Marc Davis's advanced guitar class and the DSA community at large has been an unparalleled experience as both an artist and a student of education. Largely unprecedented among North Carolina magnet schools, the Durham School of the Arts fosters the balanced scholarly, athletic, and artistic development of each and every student. Through my camera's lens, I witnessed intensely personalized mentorship from experienced educators, active student collaboration ingrained in all levels of the curriculum, and an exceedingly diverse and ambitious student body whose warm, accepting embrace of their differences reflects the ultimate goal of multiculturalism.

In conversations with Krister Sweeney, a talented junior of Nicaraguan descent who typifies the school on the levels of achievement, diversity, and character, I discovered that DSA's commitment towards inclusion extends beyond the traditional manifestations of diversity, namely culture, race, and socioeconomic background. In this environment of learning, sharing, and growth, being 'different' or 'individual' is collectively perceived as a blessing worth expression and cultivation. Herein lies a paradigm for both the education of adolescents and the instillation of compassionate, inclusive values that I hope to convey visually through this story. Play on, DSA.