Moravian Academy

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Moravian Academy
TypeIndependent, Coeducational, and College Preparatory School
Established1742, 1971
FounderCountess Benigna von Zinzendorf
HeadmasterMr. Jeffrey Zemsky
CampusUrban (Lower-Middle), Suburban (Upper)
Color(s)Red      and      Gold

Moravian Academy, located in historic Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in the United States, is a prekindergarten through 12th grade coeducational college preparatory school. It predominantly serves students from the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania.

Moravian Academy is an independent school, but traces its origins to the Moravians, who settled Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 1741. The Academy descends from the first school for girls founded in the American colonies, Moravian Seminary, founded in 1742 by Countess Benigna von Zinzendorf. It is the ninth oldest independent school in the United States. In 1971, Moravian Seminary for Girls and Moravian Preparatory School merged, creating Moravian as it is today. It was formerly a boarding school, but is now for day students only.

Moravian Academy has a religious heritage in the Moravian Church, but now refers to itself as a "church-related school",[1] welcoming students from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds. The school holds weekly interfaith chapel services for students that both celebrate the diverse religious traditions of the school community and honor the school's Moravian heritage.

Moravian is made up of three divisions: The Upper, Middle and Lower Schools. The Upper School is located on the Merle-Smith Campus, and the Lower and Middle Schools are located in downtown Bethlehem on the Church Street Campus. The Middle School is based in the Devey Building, dedicated to Mr. Devey & Mrs. Devey, a former headmaster and his wife, and the 7 East Market Street Building, a former YWCA building.

The Lower School comprises Primer through 5th grade, the Middle School comprises 6th through 8th and the Upper School contains grades 9 through 12.


In May 1742, Moravian Seminary was founded by Countess Benigna von Zinzendorf, daughter of Moravian Leader Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf. The school was founded as a Moravian girls' school in Germantown, Philadelphia, but was moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in June 1742. Soon afterwards, a separate Moravian boys' school was founded. The two schools changed locations frequently in their early days, following the Moravian missionaries around as they fulfilled their vows to preach to the Native Americans in the region.

In order to give the schools more stability, Moravian Bishop Joseph Spangenberg turned them into boarding schools to house and educate the children of missionaries. During the time of the American Revolution, Moravian schools opened up enrollment to non-Moravians with permission from the church leaders. Many people wanted to give their children the skills and education that the Moravians had cherished for a long time. The schools became so popular that they were unable to house the large number of students that wanted to join the school, despite recent expansions of the facilities.

In the 1830s, the Moravian day schools (non-boarding) became public schools but still kept teaching their own religion. In 1850s, a co-ed Moravian Parochial School broke away from the public school system. This Moravian Parochial School went on to set up a college preparatory program to prepare students for nearby Lehigh University in 1885. The Moravian Parochial School was later renamed to Moravian Preparatory School. Meanwhile, Moravian Seminary was facing hard financial times at the same time that teachers were demanding higher pay. The Moravian Church originally had brought on teachers that would work for almost nothing as they felt that they were doing God's work.[2]

In 1971, Moravian Seminary and Moravian Preparatory School merged to become Moravian Academy.

Moravian Academy draws inspiration from John Amos Comenius, the Moravian bishop from 17th century Europe. They follow his vision of "an education in which all would participate, and an education that would allow each individual to develop fully in mind, body, and spirit".[3]

Scholastic Scrimmage[edit]

In 2006, Moravian Academy took second place in Pennsylvania's Scholastic Scrimmage, losing to Allentown Central Catholic High School in the finals. In 2008, they won first place with Liberty High School coming in second. In 2009, they won for the second consecutive year, with Wilson Area High School coming in second-place. In 2013, Moravian Academy won first place again with Freedom High School coming in second. The 2013 winning team consisted of captain Madhav Sekar, Evan Burke, Gareth Messman, and Kara Chyung.


The girls' varsity field hockey team completed a near-perfect 25-1 season in 2016 and won the Colonial League, District XI and PIAA A titles. Coach Debbie Bross won her second state title and recorded her 500th career win.[4] During the prior 2015 season, the varsity field hockey team captured the Colonial League Championship Title but were defeated in the District XI finals and PIAA semi-finals that year.

The varsity boys’ soccer team made history on November 14, 2014 at Hershey Park Stadium with a 4-0 victory over Sewickley Academy for the State Championship title. The team also earned the Colonial League and District XI titles.

The girls’ tennis team earned the 2014 District XI Championship Title. The doubles team of Lena Deb '15 and Kara Chyung '15 also earned the District XI Title, and their spot in the PIAA State Tournament.

The varsity girls' soccer team had a successful season as well, making it all the way to the District XI finals after taking out Williams Valley in the quarterfinals and Schuylkill Haven in the semifinals.

Sam Li '16 earned a medal with a fourth-place finish in the Colonial League Cross Country Championship, and the team finished strong in the District meet at Bethlehem Municipal Golf Course on October 23. Sam Li '16 and Will Stifel '16 both qualified for the PIAA state meet in Hershey on November 1. Sam won the A District meet and Will came in fourth out of the five individual qualifiers. The team placed second overall.

The golf team has won 3 straight Colonial League Championship Titles as well as the District XI Title, and Tim Wolak '15 placed first in the Colonial League.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Whelan, Frank. "Moravian Academy Records Its History". The Morning Call. The Morning Call. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  3. ^ "Our History". Moravian Academy. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  4. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°40′44″N 75°18′42″W / 40.678945°N 75.311794°W / 40.678945; -75.311794