Lockhead ’09 and Vosburgh ’08 are BN Scholars at Duke

The Benjamin N. Duke Scholars program brings outstanding students from the Carolinas to Duke University. The all-inclusive scholarship (covering full tuition, room, board, fees, and two summers of community engagement) is valued at more than $250,000. Over the past two years, Duke has granted 24 BN Scholarships. These 24 scholars hail from 21 different high schools throughout North and South Carolina. Triangle Day School congratulates Tanner Lockhead, Class of 2009, and Tom Vosburgh, Class of 2008, for earning such prestigious scholarships. Recently, I asked Tanner and Tom to share some thoughts about TDS.

When did you start at TDS?

TL – I started at TDS in Ms. Brintle’s first grade class and graduated from 8th grade in 2009.

TV – Seventh grade; August 2006.

Name a few of your favorite TDS teachers. Why are they your favorites?

TL – Ms. Lundstrom, Mr. Forringer, and Mr. Sikes were a few of my favorites. There was absolutely never a dull moment in class.

TV – Mr. Sikes and Ms. Aguilar were two of my favorite teachers. Mr. Sikes, with his “country of the day” and personal stories, ensured we learned far more than the curriculum dictated, and Ms. Aguilar was incredible at presenting the material in an understandable manner while still challenging us intellectually.

What is/are your favorite memories of TDS?

TL – There are several memories from TDS that I remember like they were yesterday – from close middle school basketball games and class trips to the beginnings of incredible friendships. However, one memory that speaks to my experience at TDS sticks out. In fact, it was a memory I formed only this past June.

With shaky hands and knocking knees, I remember standing outside of the TDS gym before giving the graduation speech for the TDS class of 2009. With all of my classmates huddled around, we shared a group hug and made one last attempt to calm ourselves down for the ceremony. That afternoon, as I spoke about the experiences I had shared with my classmates and the lessons I would take with me to high school, it felt like my TDS experience had come full circle.

By the end of my senior year, however, I found myself in a similar situation. Outside of Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke, I sat memorizing my valedictory speech for the Jordan High School’s Class of 2013 graduation. Three hours leading up to the ceremony, five of my closest TDS friends and I sat huddled together, reminiscing once again about the experiences we had shared while at TDS and throughout high school. As I stepped up to the stage, I stood on a platform that TDS helped me build. As I looked around, however, the presence of so many TDS faculty, staff, and classmates was what made that experience truly unforgettable. That moment serves as a constant reminder that the TDS community is something that stays with you. I see no reason why my favorite TDS memory couldn’t be one to come.

TV – I made incredible friends at TDS, many of whom I still regularly keep in touch with even though we attended high schools across the Triangle region and colleges all around the country. I also remember the weekend field trips to sites of historic significance across North Carolina and Virginia, which provided me with the perfect combination of time with friends for my social side and interesting information for my intellectual side.

How was your transition to high school?

TL – The academic rigor at TDS provided me with a foundation in math, science, and foreign language that immediately allowed me to excel in high school. But most importantly, I graduated TDS with the ability to think critically, write clearly, and communicate effectively. TDS gave me more than just a phenomenal academic platform; I left with the knowledge and assurance that, wherever I went next, I would succeed.

TV – While it was interesting transitioning from a tiny school to a much larger one – the cafeteria alone seemed to be the size of the entire TDS building – I never felt academically unprepared. In fact, my freshman year world history class was essentially a repeat of everything I learned at TDS.

Did you consider going to a private school for high school?

TL – I never seriously considered attending a private high school. Jordan High School offered all of the academic opportunities that I needed to be a competitive college applicant, and I felt at home on campus.

TV – Not seriously. I attended a public elementary school, and my parents very much wanted me to attend another public school for my high school years.

What are you studying at Duke?

TL – Public Policy and Economics. I’m currently a part of Duke Student Government, Duke Mock Trial and Habitat for Humanity. After undergrad, I plan on attending law school.

TV – Economics with a minor in global health. Though I change my long-term plans every few weeks, I’d currently like to spend some time in the business world for a few years after graduation before attending graduate school and working for an international development-focused NGO.

What do you like about the BN Scholars program (besides the obvious economic advantage)?

TL – The BN Duke Scholarship has provided me with a myriad of academic, extracurricular, career and mentorship resources. Access to professors as well as funding for international service projects and study abroad programs have allowed me to take full advantage of everything Duke has to offer without the fear of debt after graduation. But, hands down, the most incredible part of the BN Duke Scholarship is the community. I’m constantly in awe of my classmates and I’m so fortunate to be able to spend time with them, learn from them, and work alongside them at Duke. We’re a “BN family,” and there isn’t another college – or another program – that could make me feel more at home.

TV – Though Duke is a relatively small school, the BN Duke Scholarship program provides me with a group of people with a common interest, civic engagement, that makes the school seem all the more welcoming.

Do you have plans for the summer community engagement?

TL – While in South Carolina for my first summer with the BN Duke Scholarship, I hope to intern for the Mayor’s Office or with the local school board. For my international summer, I plan to travel to South America and work in microfinance and sustainable development.

TV – I spent this past summer interning at a community museum in Horry County, South Carolina, helping to curate its first exhibit on African-American history. Additionally, I volunteered for a community health nonprofit, where I helped create an innovative, arts-oriented campaign to raise awareness about the growing prevalence of stroke in young people, a project that just received seed funding from the South Carolina Arts Commission. I’m still planning this upcoming summer, but I’m currently toying with the ideas of working for a UNESCO economist in Italy, a microfinance group in Costa Rica or an international development organization in South Africa, so we’ll see what ends up happening!

To Tanner: Your dad went to UNC. Has your going to Duke caused any waves at home?

ACC regular season basketball hasn’t started up quite yet, so I guess we’ll see!