Education Team 20 October 2023
A holistic education incorporating head, heart, and hand.
Whenever parents consider a boarding school for their children, most naturally what goes along is their expectation to see them develop into a prosperous personal future. Among all the questions asked at the department of admissions in Salem, the one addressing future chances after graduation is also the most frequently asked.
Every single time we could tell stories about our careers counselling service, starting in grade 8 and working individually with every child, helping them to make good decisions for their future academic life. We could also emphasize the great many chances that our academic as well as personal networks offer. The most convincing testimonials of Salem’s pedagogical success, however, are our alumni themselves.
Of course, everyone knows the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, husband to the Queen of England. Together with the former Queen of Spain, Sofía, he was undoubtedly the most famous Salem Alumni.
In more than a hundred years, however, the school has generated a vast number of alumni who might not be in the spotlights at all, but who make a distinction due to their own stories or outstanding contributions to society. In this article, we would like to highlight three of our alumni whom we believe to be exemplary ones in the sense that they have the Salem pedagogical principles incorporated in their individual professions and lives.
Kurt Hahn’s idea for Salem (among others) was that of a holistic education. Besides a very thorough academic training at a German grammar school, making up the “head component” of our education, two more components are essential to us: The heart and the hand of every pupil.
Younger pupils at Salem start out training their hands in experimenting on professions like woodturning, precision mechanics, tailoring or pottery. How would you know what you are capable of, if you never get to try something new?
The muses and the crafts at Salem provide an idea of the creative jobs people do when using their hands. A new building on the Salem Campus reflects the idea of head, heart and hand precisely: While on the ground and first floor, pupils of two age groups train their heads in classrooms, there are the crafts’ workshops in the cellar (hand). The Assembly Hall underneath the roof is a meeting point for all Salem pupils and staff (heart), coming together for ceremonies and good times.
In grade 9, pupils choose one service to the community and continue being of service to others until graduation. It is in fact a real apprenticeship with the German Red Cross, or the Fire Brigade, or the Technical Relief Service, just to name a few. Pupils can also be of service to the school by joining the music service. Or experiment development politics. Or sustainability – at this point in time, this can also be a strategic decision opening professional (career) chances in the near future. The Salem Services aim at making young people see their privileged life, as well as their ability to help those in need.
Salem Alumni Stories
A vast number of Salem alumni have the idea of head, heart and hand incorporated in their professional lives. And so has Violetta Betsch: At the age of 15, still a Salem pupil, Violettastarted putting into practice an idea that would become a “multipurpose aid parcel”, an award-winning, patented and CARE-supported product. The idea: To avoid waste when sending care parcels to crisis regions by turning the very parcel into an emergency lodging item after the goods have been distributed.
How creative an idea coming out of Violetta’s head, who developed her prototypes with her own hands in order to be of wholehearted service to people in need! Her multipurpose aid parcel has made it to every trouble area of the world ever since, offering goods and shelter at the same time, without harming the environment. Today, Violettaworks as an assistant doctor in the surgery section of a clinic in Germany. In 2013, she won the Kurt Hahn Award for her outstanding invention and statement of awareness.
Clemens Maier is CEO of Ravensburger Games (you might know the jigsaw puzzles and many other famous children’s games, incorporating head, heart and hand again!). Looking back at his time as a pupil in Salem, Clemens appreciates the fact that the School opened the door to the world for him. Born in the Salem region, it could have been easy for Clemens to just profit from a very good academic education at Salem and then continue straight into his family’s company.
However, living and learning together with his Salem friends caused a difference. He highlights the depth of friendships, the lasting bonds and support long after graduation. It was a visit to a Salem friend from New York at the age of 16 that changed his perspective: Clemens decided to take part in an exchange programme with a school in California, later to study in London, and to live and work in New York and Madrid. He learned to think more critically and to take over more of a cosmopolitan view. By his own decision, he returned home where he started his career at Ravensburger and became CEO in 2017.
Today, he is turning his company into a global player. Clemens feels a lot of gratitude towards Salem and its pedagogical staff today. He continues to be connected with his former school in many ways.
Dr. Mavi Schellenberg was born in San Francisco and 12 years old when she moved to Germany. One year later she came down with Leukaemia and underwent 12 months of therapy. During that time, she wrote a book on her experience as a young cancer patient. Recently recovered, she detected a newspaper ad telling her about scholarship opportunities at Salem International Boarding School. Until then, the idea of attending a boarding school had never actually occurred to her. Believing that life opens doors, Mavi applied and got lucky. Even twice, as she became the first scholarship holder of the Dornier Foundation in support of talented pupils.
After graduating from Salem, Mavi studied medicine and turned into a pulmonary specialist. When asked for a recipe to being a good doctor, Mavi names flexibility, detailed thinking, keeping the overview, acting goal-oriented, and a great deal of empathy. She believes her time at Salem contributed to the detection and fostering of these traits in herself, making good use of her head, heart and hands. Mavi is a life changer know, just like the Salem scholarship changed her years ago.
Open House: Experience Salem
Would you like to learn more about life and learning at one of the world’s most renowned boarding schools? Then visit us at our Open House at our locations Schloss Salem, Schloss Spetzgart and Campus Härlen. Visit here to learn more.
Information Events for Students and Parents
Continuing our tradition of reaching out to you, we offer online informative events on Schule Schloss Salem on a regular basis and in different languages. They provide a very comfortable way of getting to know Salem from home. Visit here to find the dates and register!