Weekly Newsletter

Week of January 27, 2020

From the Head of School

“School-life balance is important for optimal academic functioning. Students often prioritize academics at the expense of personal factors, including relationships and exercise. This can lead to a decline in academic performance, as general health and well-being are critical to optimal academic functioning.” (St. John’s University/Student Assistance Program website)

I have always been a defender of work/school-life balance, and I continue to read more and more articles that reveal the detriments when imbalance becomes a way of life.  I confess that I am guilty of “do what I say, not what I do,” but I am working on carving out time to get some exercise, turn off my electronics, and do the things that I used to find time to do. 

The faculty met to discuss how they can support students in achieving a better balance, and they have agreed to a homework policy:

  • College Prep level - 30 minutes a night for each day in class (4 per week)
  • Honors/AP level - 45 minutes a night for each day in class (4 per week)

Now, there will be a few exceptions - if the assignment is to read 30 pages in a novel and a student is on page 28 after 30 minutes, she should probably read the next two pages; preparing for a test may take some students a bit longer than this targeted time commitment. Teachers will also assist students in navigating long-range assignments such as research papers or projects. 

This is not a drastic policy; as a matter of fact, most of the faculty have this in practice. What is new and necessary, however, is returning to the student-teacher dialogue of “how much time did you spend on your homework last night?”

I hope that you are able to attend the Town Hall on Saturday, February 8. Together, we will continue the conversation about how best to help the entire Salem community find work/school-life balance.

Far may our song ring clear!
Carol Killebrew

Health and Wellness Update: Coronavirus

Salem Academy is continuing to monitor the development of the coronavirus disease internationally as we diligently keep abreast of this developing situation. We are thrilled to have our students back on campus after January Term, and their health and wellbeing are of utmost concern.  At any time that a student feels unwell, she is asked to seek an adult in the building to ensure that she receives proper medical care. Our Novant Health team has been in regular contact with the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, and the safety of our school community remains our highest priority. Salem Academy has a nurse in the building two mornings a week, and we are also ready to take students to a medical facility if any symptoms arise. 

Note: In addition to the development of the coronavirus, we are also in the midst of a robust flu season in North Carolina, and it is imperative that all of us are vigilant in washing our hands and covering our coughs and sneezes with our elbows to diminish the spread of germs.

Mark your calendars for a Salem Academy Town Hall Meeting

What: Town Hall for current Salem Academy Families, students, and parents
When: Saturday, February 8, 2020, at 10:00 (Zoom for those who cannot attend)
Where: Shirley Auditorium in the Fine Arts Center (FAC)
Who: Parents, students, President Sandra Doran, Board Chair Dara Folan, Academy Committee Chair Julia Archer, Head of School Carol Killebrew

Academy Alumna speaks to AP Biology Class

Daniella DeCristo (A '12) spoke to the AP Biology class about her work in genetic counseling during their biotechnology unit. Daniella took time out of her busy schedule to help the girls learn more about genetics, the complex world of genetic counseling and related ethical questions in addition to her own journey in college to figure out her career direction and passions. Daniella took Biology and Advanced Placement Biology while she was at Salem with Ms. Spencer.  She majored in Biology at UNC-CH and is now working on her Master's degree in Genetic Counseling at UNC-G.  Thank you, Daniela!

AP Biology Class

Join Salem Academy At Jan Term Sharing Day

Jan Term Sharing Day will take place on Wednesday, February 5.  All students will have the opportunity to present to the Salem community and guests about their experiences.  View the complete schedule of events here.  

If you plan to join us for lunch in the Academy Dining Room at 11:30 a.m., please RSVP here by Friday, January 31.

College Counseling

Senior Update

As students receive admissions decisions, please email Dr. Spong ( the decision and a copy of the scholarships that the student receives. Dr. Spong will update Salem’s records. 

Junior Update

Beginning in February, Junior Seminar will begin for 11th-grade students. They need to attend during their assigned sessions.  Additionally, Dr. Spong is beginning individual meetings with 11th-grade students this week. Parents are welcome to attend. Please email Dr. Spong ( by Friday, January 31st with convenient times for scheduling individual meetings. 

Important Note: March is a good time to take the SAT. Please be sure to register at 

College Scholarships & Summer Enrichment Opportunities

Many college scholarships and opportunities have opened up for 11th and 12th-grade student applicants.  Please view the 2019 - 2020 Scholarships & Summer Enrichment Opportunities document to explore everything available.  The listing is in order by grade levels (12th, 11th, 10th grades).  More scholarship and college summer enrichment information will be added to this document as it becomes available.

Referral Awards

This is the perfect time of year to refer a middle school (or high school!) girl to Salem Academy! Remember, if you refer a family to Salem Academy, you will receive a $1000 Referral Award towards your daughter’s tuition for 2020-2021. Please contact Jessica Rogers (  if you have any questions. 

Financial Aid Application For 2020-2021

It’s that time of year! Families should start thinking about filing the Parent Financial Statement if you wish to receive need-based aid for next year. We anticipate re-enrollment contracts going out in February, so please have your paperwork submitted by January 31st. If you have questions, please contact Jessica Rogers ( in the Admissions Office. 

Please note that merit awards are renewable annually, and do not require the PFS. 

Athletics Update


The Salem Academy Fencing Team continued their dominance of the Western Division during the Divisional Championships last Saturday at Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School.  
The semi-final round was an exciting matchup of skills with three of the four fencers from the Salem Sabers.  After four intense rounds of hard-earned victories, all of the Salem Academy fencers placed in the top eight.  Freshmen and first-year fencers Destiny Hale and Kaitlyn Gyamfi earned third and fourth place respectively, while sophomore fencer Mira Fitch placed first.  
It was an incredible day of hard work, perseverance, and great fencing.  The Saber fencers are now preparing for the final two events of the season: the team state championship and the individual state championship.
Final Results:
1st place: Mira Fitch
3rd place: Destiny Hale
4th place: Kaitlyn Gyamfi 
8th Place: YiRu (Angelina) Jin

Fencing AthleteFencing Athletes

Fencing Athletes

Pictured clockwise: Destiny Hale and Angelina Jin; Angelina Jin and Kaitlyn Gyamfi; and Mira Fitch    


Our Salem Academy Sabers participated at the Greensboro Aquatic Center for the Piedmont Triad Athletic Championship Meet of 2020. Our small mighty team had a valiant return after Jan Term.  We may have been small in numbers but we have certainly been big in heart.  Lucy Price, Makenna Hartwich, Emma Grimstead, Michaela Murphy, Molly Mabe, Kate Dossel, Jane Hsieh, Alexandra Cao, Amy Martinez, Helen Watson, Eva Henneke, and Zora Walton gave it their all as we wrapped up our season under the leadership of Coach Vavina Lapham.
Our 2020 Seniors, Kate Dossel, Makenna Hartwich, Lucy Price and all the seniors in the conference were recognized at the meet.
Our Lady Sabers have shown steady improvement throughout the season. Lucy Price dropped eight seconds in the 500 freestyle. Molly Mabe dropped three seconds in her 100 backstroke and Emma Grimstead finished with 29:07 in the 50 freestyle.
Our team finished pumped and full of Saber Pride. To quote Amy Martinez, “my favorite part was watching my teammates drop their times.”

Senior Swim Athletes

Seniors (L- R): Lucy Price, Makenna Hartwich, Coach Vavina Lapham, and Kate Dossel

'19-'20 Swim Team

Upcoming Athletic Events

  • 2/8 - State Fencing Tournament in Chapel Hill
  • 2/10 - State Swim Meet at the GAC
  • 2/12 - Faculty/Student Basketball Game 4:15 pm
  • 2/29 - NC Individual Fencing League Championship at Barber Park -   Greensboro, NC
  • 3/2 - Spring Sports Tryouts

Upcoming Activities and Events
Upcoming Activities and Events (School Front)