The final week of Dream It-Build It - participants proudly afloat on Part One of the floating dock they built at the Camelot farm!

The final week of Dream It-Build It - participants proudly afloat on Part One of the floating dock they built at the Camelot farm!


Civics X class has had a very eventful couple of weeks! We have had two North Carolina State Senators come to visit us at school: Senator Mike Woodard and Senator Floyd McKissick. Both gave some perspective on the political and practical considerations involved in shaping public policies; Senator McKissick talked about growing up in the Civil Rights Movement, during which his father, Floyd McKissick Sr., played a central role. Students also traveled to Raleigh on May 16 to witness the teacher rally; students asked to attend this event, and they got to hear public teachers' concerns first-hand while observing democracy in action. In addition, Camelot got some TV exposure when teacher Matt Wilhelm and student Eric Gavin were interviewed by CBS News 17's Angela Taylor! Finally, on Thursday, May 17, the class went to Durham City Hall with Amy's Middle Grades US History class to speak with Mayor Steve Schewel. The X schedule has been an amazing opportunity for Civics students to learn about American government in action!

Article by Admissions Director Scott Mitchell Featured in The Herald Sun

(Link: The ‘X’ Stands for ‘Extended’ at Camelot Academy in Durham – Scott Mitchell)

Being small can be an advantage. Ask David. Ask Goliath. Or take a look at Camelot Academy and the “X -Schedule” it has implemented for the month of January.

The “X” stands for “Extended” and the Durham K-12, independent school basically scrapped its six-period day for a month so a number of extended (four-hour) classes could pursue learning outside the classroom. The “X-Classes” go off on daily adventures not unlike those of Ms. Frizzle and The Magic School Bus.

Pottery made by the open-pit method
Civics students found themselves in the middle of a gerrymandering protest! (”Take chances!”)

Matt Wilhelm’s civics class traveled to Raleigh on Jan. 9 and spent the morning with State Sen. Mike Woodard, and Rep. Marcia Morey. They not only showed the class of 10 around the chambers and lawmakers’ cafeteria, but answered questions and spoke at length about various aspects of their jobs – including getting elected and being Democrats in a majority-Republican legislature. Meanwhile, just outside the building, a group of demonstrators gathered to protest gerrymandering.

Tom Mitchell’s environmental science class went from studying hydrology and soil composition to taking core samples from various locations and analyzing what they pulled out of the ground. (”Get messy!”) They also volunteered at several of the state’s conservation sites, including the Penny’s Bend Nature Preserve where they helped to clear dead trees and reduce restraints on protected and endangered plant species such as the Dwarf Sumac.

The Agri-Science class goes shopping for farm equipment
Art teacher Judith Kuegler augmented her unit on pre-historic art by doing an archaeological dig with her class. “I wanted to show them the process by which most ancient artifacts are found,” she said. Next, she introduced them to open-pit firing, the method by which much ancient pottery was made. Her students not only made plates and bowls, they also found they could enhance what they made by laying strands of horsehair across the glowing clay as it was removed from the fire. As the strands shriveled and danced across the red-hot surface they left behind an interesting pattern of dark, erratic lines. “Human hair doesn’t work,” Abby Weber, a senior at Camelot volunteered enthusiastically, “We tried it.” (“Make mistakes!”)

Intro. to Physical Science class launches bottle rockets they designed
Lori Hilliard’s agri-science class, which had been studying animal husbandry, veterinary science and agri-economics went to the Raleigh farmers’ market to talk with actual farmers about farming. They also visited a tractor supply outlet to price farm equipment and did a lab on meat identification (They later cooked and ate the samples!) All this research will help them complete their final project: Given a budget and a certain parcel of land, what would they choose to grow or raise in order to start a sustainable business?

Sharks (metaphorical ones) circled as the entrepreneurial class competed for the winning plan on what to do with the eggs produced by the school’s flock of chickens. (”Take risks!”)

In true “Shark Tank” style, the three competing teams presented their bold ideas, financial projections and marketing strategy to persuade a panel of judges. The winning concept will receive the resources necessary to launch their company in the spring.

Middle graders were in the middle of it all. The physical science class of Irfan Azam was studying Newton’s laws of motion, so of course they went roller skating (“Keep your mass centered!”) and designed, built and launched bottle rockets (“every action has an equal and opposite ...”). Amy Cummings has taken “Roots” as the theme for her social studies class. They are studying how local government (Durham) has provided access to water, food, shelter, clothing, etc. over time. They visited The Stagville Plantation to learn how a slave economy handled these issues. They also went to the “Story of North Carolina” exhibit at The N.C. Museum of History which traces the history of North Carolina from the Native Americans through the Civil Rights Movement.

Fasten your seat belts, January is not over yet! Bus – do your stuff!

Scott Mitchell is the director of admission at Camelot Academy. You can reach him at (919) 688-3040 and


Dream it, Build it


OUR STUDENTS have been out on the farm building and constructing with Master Carpenter Thad Lawrence. So far this summer they have built a beautiful covered cedar deck off the barn - which will serve as a very large outdoor classroom space (pictured above). They have also built movable fencing, an 8 foot picnic bench and fencing along the waterfront. The August groups will be building another POULTRY COOP to house our ever-growing flock of assorted birds.

IT HAS BEEN INSPIRING to witness not just the use of math and science skills, but problem solving of every kind, including figuring out how to optimize individuals within a team and brainstorming of work-a-rounds. I have marveled at the successful integration of students across widely varying age and skill levels and personality types. The pride and ownership these students have towards their accomplishments is beautiful to behold. As


As an educator forever on a quest to unleash potential, this has been quite thrilling!


Our FTC Team had an incredible day at the State competition on Saturday, February 18th. They won both the Connect Award and the 3rd Place Inspire Award. They will now move on to the Super Regionals in Athens, Ga. later this month!


On Saturday, Camelot Robotics hosted the 2nd Annual Bull City FLL Scrimmage for 20 area teams.

On Saturday, Camelot Robotics hosted the 2nd Annual Bull City FLL Scrimmage for 20 area teams. The scrimmage was designed as a mock FLL competition to help prepare our fellow FLL teams for the upcoming competitive season.  The scrimmage started with teams participating in panel interviews on robot design in the morning and wrapped with robot performance runs in the afternoon. The event drew over 200 participants making it a successful community building experience. Camelot FLL Teams “RoboTofu Raptors” (Jackson McCalmon and Simon Holt) and “RoboFoxes” (Ethan Salemy, Ellie Larsen, Anna Bailiey, Patrick Ireland, Nate Hopkins, Clara Brown) graciously competed and shared their positive FLL experiences with their fellow teams.


Many thanks to students Kathleen Stancil-Sutton, Virginia Bruhn, Abby Weber, Colin Whiteford, Christopher Radcliffe, Elias Stephens, Zachary Ireland, and Xander Lord who held vital roles of referees, team mentors, score keepers, time keepers, and judges. Their professionalism and dedication to their roles created the perfect environment for learning and laughter.  Additional thanks are due to an army of parent volunteers Sandy Bailey, Chris Larsen, David Whiteford, John Ireland, Cynthia McCalmon, Brennan Stephens, Jon Holt, and Chris Bailey who fully embraced many support roles throughout the day.  Coaches Angela Ireland, Bob Radcliffe and Robyn Stephens were extremely proud of how the robotics program represented Camelot Academy to our larger community."
More photos: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Senior Eddie O'Brien has been elected to the position of Government Affairs Officer on the Durham Youth Commission. In this position Eddie will serve as a liaison between the City Council and The Youth Commission.


Senior Richard Carruthers has been named a National Merit Semi-Finalist.

Camelot Academy purchases a 22-acre farm in North Durham which includes a 5-acre pond and an historic log cabin!

It is the policy and commitment of Camelot Academy that it does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, gender, religion, ethnic or national origin.

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