Salem Academy - Review #1

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About the Author:

College Enrolled Western Carolina University
Home Town, State (Country) Asheboro, NC
Years Attended Boarding School 4
Activities During Boarding School I participated in Salem's Glee Club and Spirit Ensemble, as well as the theater program. I also spent three of my four years playing volleyball and softball. I was president of Mock Trial, where I helped lead many of the members to win regional awards.

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Salem's special traditions set it apart from any other school in the country. Because it was started in 1772, making it the oldest all girls school in the country, there are many traditions that occur annually at Salem. Some include: purple/gold day, senior ring ceremony, Christmas ceremonies, and many more.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
Salem gave me the opportunity to grown into a woman. Being in the all-girl environment gave me a chance to build my self esteem, which helped me become the person I am today. While I was there, I was not as appreciative of the all-girl environment, I wanted boys to be around, but I saw boys on the weekends which was plenty for me. Being in small classes with such wonderful teachers and girls helped me learn and become a better student. I learned dedication, work ethics, self confidence, and how to be a good friend. The support system that is formed between the girls is amazing and really helps to mold you into a good friend, good listener, and a better person. At least it did this for me. Salem is by far the best decision that I have ever made in my life (and that is no lie)!
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
If I could go back to Salem, I would appreciate it more. I would have gone on more weekend activities. When first arriving at Salem, it is normal to be very homesick, but you cannot give in and go home. That is why there is a time limit of a month before you can go home. I know you will miss home just like I did. You are forced to learn how to do your own laundry and occupy your time with other things, but my advice would be: even if you get homesick...go get a friend, cry a little, but then go do something fun. Because those 4 years fly by, and when they are gone...you will wish that you would have had more time. You will make the best friends of your life, form a bond with these sisters that is usually stronger than with your own siblings, and you will create memories that will last beyond a lifetime!!
4.) What did you like most about your school?
I loved the people and the atmosphere that allowed me to grow as a girl into a woman. The people that teach you are your teachers, staff, friends, and even yourself.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Work hard.. laugh hard.. cry hard... but whatever you do, enjoy and appreciate the best opportunity of your life. You will get not only a fantastic education that prepares you for college and life, but you will form so many tight bonds. Just ask another "sister!"

Academics:

1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Growing up in a small town, I was receiving a small-town education. I knew that in order to accomplish many of my goals that I needed to attend a very strong academic school. Salem is just that. Although the academics are difficult, the teachers are very helpful with the transition from public school to the new environment. At Salem, because of the lower number of students, the class sizes are much smaller (approx 8-12 people). These small classes allow better participation as well as better understanding. Teachers also play a larger role in the students' academic life. These teachers are "cream of the crop." The teachers at Salem are available for meetings and advice. The relationships I formed with my teachers at Salem have lasted longer than any other relationships with teachers throughout my years in school. Being in an all-girls setting, it is very nice having all female teachers. They are very understanding of different ways of learning, and help all of their students achieve the goals the students are trying to obtain. Although, the work load is pretty busy and the academic environment is competitive, all of the students or "sisters" help each other and work alongside each other forming a bond deeper than any friendship I made in public school.

Athletics:

1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Although the athletic program is not severely competitive, the sports are a great way to exercise and have fun with your friends. The school offers swimming, track, cross country, basketball, softball, volleyball, soccer, and possibly new once since I have been gone. The facilities are quite nice and being between the academy and college, it is often fun to meet up with some of the college students to play. I am not sure of the specific programs that are there now, but just a few years ago they were great. Although there was not a football team (because Salem is an all girl school), that did not stop us from having a "homecoming" flag football game (freshman and juniors vs. sophomores and seniors) followed by a semi-formal dance. So, you don't miss out on a lot of the things with some of the sports that some girls think they might.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
I was very active in the music and theatre program at Salem. I do not know a lot about the visual arts, but I know some of the girls that participated in it, and they were AMAZING. I personally believe Salem is known for its arts. I know that the school is located near the Fine and Performing Arts school, but I truly believe some of Salem's girls could give them "a run for their money!" Nevertheless, Salem's music program is wonderful. There are 3 different levels of the choral program: chorus, Glee Club, and the Spirit Ensemble (auditions). The Glee Club and Spirit have traveled to London, England and sang for the Queen's Charities and have put on some phenomenal concerts not only at Salem, but also all over the states. The theatre program is one of the best that I have seen. Because the school is all-girls, it is very often that girls have to play the role of a guy. That takes talent. They have to act like a boy, as well as act a certain part. This program allows young girls to become talented and confident. It is the pre-cursor to a wonderful career, or just to have fun (like I did).

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
I personally enjoyed the music and theatre programs the most as Salem. Because I was so involved with these two, I am obviously biased.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
I lived in the dorms at Salem for 4 years. Moving away from home at the age of 14 was not easy, but it was the best decision of my life. Living with another girl was not always a big slumber party(although there were some nights..). As a freshman, you are assigned a roommate in a nice size room, although you do share a big bathroom with approx 10 girls, but there are plenty of showers and bathroom stalls. Your room does have a sink, so you can brush your teeth, etc. in your own room. Once you become a sophomore, junior, or senior, you move up to the nicer rooms that share a bathroom between only two rooms. And since I left, they have completed a lot of new renovations and I believe the dorms are now BEAUTIFUL! They are in the process of linking every room with internet, but for the time being, there are a few computer labs throughout the building that are easily accessible. Living in a dorm was the best thing at Salem. To be honest, on weekends, it was a huge slumber party. We would stay up until all hours of the "morning" watching movies, playing on the computer, and just talking about girl stuff. Although, during the week, there are suggested "lights out" times.. but they are like 11 and 12, which most people are getting close to bed time anyway. Living in one building with about 100 other girls, I had some of the best times of my entire life.

Dining:

1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
Because of the size of our school, it was nice to be able to have sit down meals together at certain times of the day. Breakfast was from 7-8, lunch 1-2, dinner 6-7. It is always buffet style except for certain days when you enter in the dining hall and the food is already on the tables. The food is actually pretty good (better than college food). The sit down meals are nice too, because you get to sit down with friends and have a "family" meal. During the week at lunch, on certain days there is assigned seating. It is randomly assigned and changed weekly. This way, you can sit with different teachers (1 assigned to each table), but it isn't weird. It is nice to get to talk about life with the teachers, and they treat you with a lot of respect, because all of the girls there are very respectful. The dining room is where many other fun activities occur (senior/faculty dinner, etc.). The arrangements are not very strict and it is nice to be treated like a pre-adult and not a little kid like most teacher/student relationships in public schools.

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Winston Salem is a pretty big city. Once a week, there is a food run, where all the girls that want to go can go by bus to shopping centers across town. On weekends, the bus will take you to the mall, walmart, movies, etc. And it isn't embarrassing like a big yellow bus, the girls that get off Salem's busses are "cool." When you get off the busses, it is perfectly cool and there is a sense of pride when being dropped off from the best girl school in the country (plus, it attracts boys!!) Down town Winston has a lot of neat art shops, as well as festivals.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
Living with all girls can sometimes get old, so the school, almost every weekend has some big activity which include: ski trips, dances with boy schools, carowinds, festivals, sporting events, etc. The relationship/ sisterhood that you build while living with these girls, going to school with them, traveling with them, doing fun activities with them, and everything... the relationship is awesome!

Daily Schedule:

Weekday
7:00 AMBreakfast
8:00 AMOpening chapel
8:15 AM1st class
9:00 AM2nd class
9:45 AM3rd class
10:30 AMBreak
10:45 AM4th class
11:30 AM5th class
12:15 AM6th clas
1:00 PMLunch
Weekend
1:00 AMANYTHING
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