By Lesly Luna
September 12th of this year marked the 266th birthday of Sister Elizabeth Oesterlein, commonly known as the beloved “Sister O,” the first teacher since the founding of what is known today as Salem Academy and College.
The same age as many incoming first-years, she arrived to this community at just 17 years old. Soon after the completion of the first female institution, she was selected to teach her first class of three students in April 1772. Her groundbreaking courage and passion for the education of women has permeated through centuries of this institution’s culture and still shines through the love our Salem community has for her today.
As a celebration of her life, on Friday, September 11, dining services provided a cake in her honor which was cut by President Sterritt and several representatives from the Student Government Association. In the afternoon, students and faculty gathered together to walk to her gravestone to honor her with daisies. This year’s Student Government Association sponsored the second annual birthday celebration for Sister Oesterlein, which took place after the special Deans’ Walk procession. The festivities included games, Moravian sugar cake, performances by students and Salem College acapella group Supertonix and a student favorite: free t-shirts.