News from the May Dell - January, 2021
Welcome to January! For me, this month began with acronyms. I have spent time at virtual meetings of CIC and NCAIS. The first, the Council of Independent Colleges, met early in January and brought together presidents from across the nation and, indeed, the world. We talked about moral leadership, enrollment and marketing, the meaning of diversity and inclusion, COVID-19, and more. The second, where I was joined by the Academy Head of School Kris Sorrells, Vice President Ken Buchanan, and multiple trustees, brought together a wide array of leaders from independent schools across North Carolina. We learned from one another about strategic planning, retention, the role of parents, and more.
In both instances, I was reminded of the reality that the landscape of educational institutions is a diverse one, and though we “compete” with one another, we also learn from one another in significant ways. Our connections with our peers matter.
So too does what is happening at Salem itself. Yes, much is happening on campus as well—both our virtual campus and the physical campus we treasure so much. As the Academy moves through an exciting Jan Term and toward spring semester, the College continues its work to develop health leadership initiatives and to teach and learn together. Faculty and staff are at the heart of all we do to ensure every student’s success.
As is always the case, while many are focused on the students of today, the admissions teams at the Academy and College are focused on tomorrow’s Salem students. I have been lucky enough to welcome new adult students to our Fleer Center and new traditional age students to the College. Like their Academy peers who I saw recently at a Jan Term event, our students are inspiring. Indeed, our multigenerational campus reminds me every day of the value of lifelong learning.
So too do you—our alumnae. Your questions and advice, your ambassador work for admissions, and much more helps to ensure that Salem is, indeed, strong.
I look forward to 2021 together—staying in touch and enduring student success together.
From the Head of School
This past Monday, January 18 was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a unique holiday that people are encouraged to celebrate by spending their day performing acts of community service. This tradition is due in part to Dr. King’s preaching from the Gospels. He often quoted Matthew 23:11, “the greatest among you will be a servant,” and emphasized that everyone can be great because everyone can serve.
Community Service is an important aspect of our 9th and 10th grade January term program. This year, students designed and completed community service projects that ranged from sewing masks for hospitals to sending cards to veterans. Through this service, our students interacted with a community of importance to them. They learned firsthand that being a good leader means being willing to serve others. We hope that their projects have a positive impact on everyone involved and further inspire our students to be caring and giving in their daily lives.
Our students also have had the opportunity to see others giving to our Academy community. For example, several alumnae donated their time to lead activities such as yoga (Ashley Robinson, A’00), speak at a community lunch and learn (Andrea Passafiume, A’88) or be a guest speaker for a class (Veronica Tremblay, A’05). Alumnae and parents were panelists for the Academy career fair or wrote notes of encouragement to our faculty, staff, and students. There have been many who continually give their support, time, and encouragement. In fact, so many have made a positive impact on our community, I cannot name them all. Your gifts are truly life changing.
Our spring semester is just kicking off this week (January 19 was the official first day). The first two weeks will be primarily remote, with in-person school for day students beginning the week of February 1. We are excited to welcome our day students back to campus and to welcome all students back to school.
Kris Porazzi Sorrells
Head of School
We regret to announce that out of concern for the safety of our alumnae, staff, and faculty, Reunion Weekend 2021 will be postponed. We are, however, excited to invite this year’s Reunion classes to celebrate Reunion during the weekend of April 22-24, 2022. We know that this is disappointing news, but Reunion Weekend 2022 will celebrate Salem’s 250th and we have many special events planned.
We hope that you will also join us for a virtual Reunion celebration in your honor in April. Please stay tuned for more details.
Our Salem community will miss seeing you in person this spring, but we look forward to reuniting in April 2022, if not sooner.
Faculty/Staff Spotlight: Dr. Christopher M. Clary
Dr. Christopher M. Clary joined the Salem faculty in the fall of 2017 and said that he was drawn to the opportunity to join the Salem faculty because of the creative course design, small classes, and tightly knit community. In addition, Dr. Clary said he was very impressed by Salem Academy’s history and commitment to women’s education.
At Salem Academy, he teaches the senior and sophomore English coursework. His students who are seniors and are in the dual-enrollment course (which earns them college credit) take a class on literature exploring transgression and systems of authority. Students in the traditional senior English class consider the relationship of early modern literature and Modernist literature. The sophomore course is a survey of European literature from antiquity to the present.
“The aspect of Salem Academy that I enjoy more than any other is the energy, curiosity, and enthusiasm of our students,” Dr. Clary said. “I say it every chance I have: our students are more impressive than any college student I’ve ever taught. Students choose Salem because they want to dive into their intellectual and cultural interests, and it provides a space where those passions are celebrated and encouraged.
“The Jan Term program—for underclassmen: a combination of a focused exploration of a pressing social concern, two short special topics classes, a small self-designed service project, and a number of guest speakers—is an exceptional academic opportunity,” he added. “It’s the sort of experience I yearned for as a high school student (or as an educator!).”
As the Academy prepares for the day students to arrive on campus for spring semester, Dr. Clary is optimistic about the Academy’s new campus:
“The new location is full of exceptional opportunities. Every high school says that they ‘prepare students for college,’ but we are able to do so by actually immersing them in the college experience,” Dr. Clary said. “This includes working with college research librarians at Gramley Library, taking advantage of the college dining and athletic facilities, and providing our students with even more chances to take college courses at Salem College. Moreover, students will be able to engage their Academy teachers, in office hours and in college classroom spaces, in a way that will more accurately mimic what they’ll experience as college students.”
Dr. Clary grew up in Denver, Colorado and earned a B.A. degree in English and History from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2003. He later attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, earning a Ph.D. in 2010 in English literature with a specialization in Renaissance theatre and culture.
He has published on topics ranging from Renaissance gender and identity to the emerging field of early modern animal studies, and he previously taught at Pace University in New York and Emory & Henry College in Virginia. Following a four-year appointment as visiting assistant professor at Emory & Henry, Dr. Clary worked for one year as the study abroad program developer for High Point University where he used his previous experience teaching short-term study abroad programs to design and manage High Point University’s diverse international studies program.
Salem Voices: A Conversation with Salem Alumnae posts on the first and third Tuesdays of every month at 12:30 p.m. The most recent episode was released on January 19 and featured Beth Mabe Gianopulos, C'97. Beth is Associate General Counsel in the Legal Department and Associate Dean of Faculty Relations and Retention in the Office of Faculty Affairs at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, where she has worked since 2006. Beth is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at Wake Forest School of Medicine and is an Adjunct Professor at Wake Forest School of Law. This episode and others are available on our website.
The February 2 episode will feature Anne Nelson Stokley, C’77, who enjoyed a long career in pharmaceutical Research and Development at a global company. She started in clinical research of antibiotics and treatments for HIV disease and moved to Regulatory Affairs. She led a transformation initiative to combine the US, EU, and Emerging Markets Regulatory Affairs groups into a global function, and then did the same with regulatory governance across larger business units: Pharma, Vaccines, and Consumer Healthcare.
Join us to learn more about these amazing alumnae as they engage in conversations Lucy Rose, C’76, Vice Chair of the Salem Academy and College Board of Trustees and owner and president of Lucy Rose and Associates.
Academy Admissions—Help Us Find Applicants!
Calling all alumnae! Do you know any young women who might be interested in Salem Academy? You can refer students and/or families through our Admissions Referral Form. Or, use this form if you would like to be an Academy Alumnae Ambassador. In today’s competitive and unique (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) environment, we would love your help finding future students!
In particular, we wanted to draw your attention to a Virtual Spring Open House that we are holding on Wednesday, February 3 at 6 p.m. This is a great opportunity for prospective students to learn more about Salem Academy. It will include a virtual tour of our beautiful campus as well as an opportunity to meet current Salem Academy students and faculty. Attendees will also hear about our admissions process, scholarships, and financial aid. More information will be available on our website soon.
The Road to the 250th
This is the first in a series of columns designed to highlight the history and traditions of Salem Academy and College as we approach the 250th anniversary of the founding of the institution in April 2022. Beginning this fall, Salem will spend the academic year in celebration, starting with a Kick-off Concert in September 2021.
The Road to the 250th is meant to recall the 500-mile journey of the 12 Older Girls and four Single Sisters who travelled from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to the Wachovia territory in North Carolina in 1766. These young Moravian women and girls were about the same age as Academy and College students today. Their journey was motivated by their faith and the call to service. In Moravian communities, everyone was called to serve. No one was supposed to be idle, so a basic education was considered to be essential for girls and boys alike. When Moravians formed new communities, meeting spaces for worship and classes were usually the first to be built.
The first students in April 1772, all under the age of 10, met under the supervision of Elisabeth Oesterlein (born in 1749) in the Gemeinhaus on the corner of Salem Square where Main Hall stands today. For nearly 250 years, girls and women have been educated in this very same spot. The buildings on the north east corner of the square today (Inspector’s House, Home Moravian Church, and Main Hall) appear almost unchanged from the photos taken in the mid-19th century. This is a testament to the importance of education in the Salem community.
We can learn much from the first students and teachers of the girls school. These include teachers, such as Elizabeth Oesterlein, and students who returned to teach, such as Martha Miksch, who was the first in a long line of teachers who began their Salem careers as students.
Academy students in this year’s Jan Term class The Remarkable Women of Early Salem had the following to say: The girls and women of 1766 showed courage to act on their beliefs. They were bold enough to travel far from home to an unknown place and determined to make a new life in Wachovia in order to serve others according to their Moravian faith. Each year, we ask Salem students to emulate the girls and women of Salem’s past in their dedication to education and service to others.
Michelle Hopkins Lawrence
Co-chair, The Anna Maria Samuel Project: Race, Remembrance, and Reconciliation at Salem Academy and College
History Department Salem Academy
Save the Year: 2021–22 for Salem’s 250th Celebration
Salem is about to have a BIG birthday!
Share your ideas
We want this celebration to be unforgettable and could really use your input. What will make this celebration most meaningful? Tell us here.
Join the fun and put your love for Salem into action! Volunteer to help with the 250th celebration.
Mark your calendar
- Kick-off Concert with the Winston-Salem Symphony, dinner dance, and dining with friends across the country – September 25, 2021
- Re-creation of the Journey from Bethlehem, PA to NC – September 28–October 27, 2021
- Community Day – April 9, 2022
- Health Leadership Forum – April 21, 2022
- Founders Day – April 22, 2022
- More to come!
If you were unable to attend the Salem Today: Salem Academy Alumnae Update on Tuesday, January 12, we encourage you to watch the recording. At this virtual meeting, Academy alumnae heard about the many positive developments in recent months at the Academy, including (but not limited to) the Board of Trustees committing to the Academy remaining a 9–12 college preparatory school for girls, the recent announcement of Kris Sorrells as permanent Head of School, and Susan Henking continuing as Interim President of the Academy and College. There was also a question-and-answer period, during which alumnae were able to ask questions.