Rich in School Traditions

School Traditions - Purple team pulling on rope in tug-of-war fashion

With a history spanning nearly 250 years, Salem Academy has no shortage of fun and meaningful traditions.

At Opening Chapel in the fall (the official start of the school year), the Dean of Students reads messages and good wishes from those who came before, Salem Academy alumnae. 

Purple or Gold: Like the sorting hat in Harry Potter, each student is chosen to be a member of the Purple or Gold teams. Once assigned, you’ll keep this color forever! The “sorting” takes place at the Athletic Picnic and teams engage in a friendly competition like tug-a-war, big-ball volleyball, and other games.

Athletic Banquets, held in the fall, winter, and spring, recognize individual and team excellence in athletics.

Smoosh Cake is the annual birthday celebration for the Academy. Favors are baked into the birthday cake which are said to predict the future of the senior class.

During Parents Weekend, parents participate in a “mini-school day.” They visit their daughter’s classes and have the opportunity to meet with individual teachers and advisors.

Cookie Break, AKA the most delicious time of the day, is a daily event. Students go to the Day Student Lounge after assembly (or at 9:40 am on non-assembly days) for a world-famous Salem Academy chocolate chip cookie and milk. If you’re not in the mood for something sweet, the Dining Staff also brings out fresh fruit.

Ring Banquet, celebrated on a Tuesday evening in the fall, is hosted by the freshman for the seniors. During the banquet, each senior receives her onyx class ring. On the following day — Senior Day — the seniors are entertained by the faculty and staff at a special breakfast. Later in the day, the seniors perform their songs to the Academy community at an outdoor luncheon. The seniors also teach classes throughout the day to the underclassmen.

Senior Vespers, a cherished Christmas event, consists of a candlelight choral service. Seniors serve coffee and buns to attendees in the Moravian Lovefeast tradition.

Founders Day Convocation, held in the May Dell, celebrates the founding of Salem Academy and College and the convening of its first class of students by Elisabeth Oesterlein, Salem’s first teacher. Seniors wear their caps and gowns for the first time at this event.

On Salem Pride days, all students wear their Purple or Gold t-shirts. Better yet, when the athletic council president or a coach yells “Salem Pride,” the whole student body responds with “You know!”

The Senior-Faculty Breakfast, which takes place near the end of the spring semester, gives seniors the opportunity to celebrate with their teachers and advisors. Participants enjoy a famous breakfast treat made up of ice cream, cereal and strawberry slices, while a small group of underclassmen serve breakfast and provide entertainment.

Closing Chapel marks the end of the academic year and is held on the last Friday of classes. Citizenship Award winners are announced, and four-year seniors are recognized.

Families are invited to celebrate Baccalaureate, a Recognition Day Program, and a Head of School Dinner on the day before Graduation.

Graduation is held on the last Saturday of May in the May Dell.

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Keynote Address and Panel Discussions to Highlight the Work of Women Health Leaders Who Are Widely Recognized Experts and Innovators.

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Thursday, November 17, 2022
On October 22, more than 30 descendants of Cherokee Moravian students, who attended Salem in the 19th century, came to campus for a celebration to commemorate their ancestors.

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