|A Lighthouse in Christian Education
Salem Academy's history spans 7 decades. In 1936 three Mennonite
churches in Dallas collaborated to organize the Beacon Bible
School for post-high school instruction in Bible and related
subjects. This two-year Bible school met in church facilities,
but in 1938 the Board purchased a North Dallas grade school
where the work continued until 1945. By that time, the Kingwood
Bible Church of West Salem had operated the Salem Bible Institute
for about a year or so. These two merged to form the nucleus
of Salem College and Academy.
The school opened in September 1945 with a principal and eight
teachers. 76 students enrolled immediately, but this number
increased to 90 before the end of that first school year.
beginning, Salem College and Academy was governed by two organizations,
a society of Christian parents, students and friends; and
a board of trustees, elected by the parent organization.
The school newspaper, The Green Hornet, was published and
a few years later changed its name to The Horizon. Highlights
of Salem Academy's early years included the laying of the
corner-stone; construction of the administration building,
chapel, gym and field house; construction of the Junior High;
changing the school colors from kelly green and white to forest
green and white; the school's accreditation and mortgage burning
in 1954; and purchasing bus #4 with Green Stamps.
Changes in society, with the Bible and prayer being eliminated
from public schools, caused many families to have concerns
about the early years of their children's lives. There were
very few interdenominational Christian schools in the Willamette
Valley. This led the Salem Academy board to continue to expand
by adding a sixth grade at the start of 1974 to what was then
a 7-12 school. Fifth grade was added the following year and
both classes filled immediately. Talk of adding grades 1-4
began shortly thereafter. However, space was at a premium.
A momentous year in the history of the Salem was 1975-76,
when the East Campus, the former Serra Catholic School, was
purchased by that years Board of Trustees. The first
graduating class from the new East Campus was in 1980. Elementary
was now on the West Campus and Junior and Senior High on the
East Campus. In 1988, the mortgage of 1.3 million was in burned
The 1990s saw the introduction of child care and preschool,
and in 1999 a third campus opened in Keizer, housing preschool
About 80 local churches are represented among the 480 students
enrolled. Salem Academy continues to offer quality Christian
education to students and their families.