Jordan High School teacher and JV football coach Stuart Albright was honored recently with a Distinguished Young Alumni Award by the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
Albright, a Gastonia native who now lives in Durham, received the award from UNC's General Alumni Association at a banquet Oct. 18 at the George Watts Hill Alumni Center.
Chapel Hill native Thanassis Cambanis, a foreign correspondent now in Beirut, also received one of the two awards last week. Cambanis has written extensively about the conflicts and changes sweeping the Middle East
This is the 25th year the GAA has bestowed this award recognizing Carolina alumni age 40 or younger for bringing credit to the university through their achievements.
Albright graduated from UNC in 2001 with a degree in English. He has been an English teacher specializing in creative writing and a football coach at Jordan High School for 11 years. He coaches wide receivers with the varsity team and also is in his fourth year as head coach of the junior varsity football team.
In 2006, he was named the Durham Public Schools Teacher of the Year, and in 2007, he received a $25,000 Milken Educator Award, a national recognition dubbed the “Oscar of teaching” by Teacher magazine.
Albright, who also earned a master’s degree in education from Harvard, started a publishing company specializing in the works of his creative writing students.
Albright inspires students in the classroom and on the football field, the GAA said in a prepared statement.
“The remarkable accomplishments of many of Carolina’s younger alumni such as Stuart and Thanassis are truly inspiring,” said GAA President Douglas Dibbert.
Albright also has published books of his own: two nonfiction — “Sidelines,” about high school football in North Carolina and based on his coaching experience, and “Blessed Returns,” focusing on a summer he spent in Camden, N.J., working with poor students that inspired him to be a teacher — and a novel, “Bull City,” the story of a teacher from Durham trying to prove his brother is innocent of murder.