Salem Academy and College celebrates 240th anniversary

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Before the United States was a country, three little Moravian girls and their teacher began an institution that has endured for 240 years.

They held classes near the town square in old Salem, where today Salem Academy and College have grown into a full-blown preparatory school and private women’s college. And every April, Salem students, alumnae and educators gather to remember the path that brought them here.

“The first class had three little girls,” institution President Susan Pauly told the college’s latest graduating class Friday as they gathered to kick off Founder’s Day.

“They were hoping to go not much further than the Colonial village of Salem,” she said. “You will go around the world and make us proud.”

With that, some 50 graduating seniors walked up the hill and into “God’s Acre,” the historic Moravian graveyard where some of the Winston-Salem area’s earliest settlers are buried. The seniors placed daisies there on the grave of Elisabeth Oesterlein — “Sister O” — the girls school’s first teacher back in 1772.

This article was originally published by The Winston-Salem Journal. Click here to read more.