ODA’s Hailee Toepel ‘21, Ava Gallone ‘21, Victor Marcano-Santos ‘20, and the Global Citizens Club welcomed representatives from Far Away Friends to the Uihlein Campus to talk to the Middle and Upper School student body about the important work they are doing in Uganda.
As part of The Out-of-Door Academy’s commitment to sustainability and STEAM education, a new MakerSpace has been added to the Upper School, filled with hand and power tools and sustainably sourced materials the students can use in both engineering and arts classes.
For more than 10 years, ODA has partnered with Gocio Elementary School on a variety of service projects. One of the most meaningful traditions is the annual Thanksgiving food collection.This year ODA students, parents, and faculty on both campuses are providing full meals for 75 families at Gocio who otherwise would not be able to enjoy a holiday dinner. Click here to view photos from this special day on our Facebook Page.
The first production of the school year was a true collaboration between Upper and Middle School students. For “Peter/Wendy,” Upper School students mentored the Middle Schoolers on stage and in the technical booth, resulting in a wonderful production.
At the Fall Student-Athlete College Commitment Celebration, six seniors were recognized for their dedication to their sport and their pursuit of athletic careers at the collegiate level. Three members of the Class of 2020 will compete at Division I programs.
Each year, ODA families collect donations to create full Thanksgiving meals for over 70 families at Gocio Elementary. This year, a former student shared a personal account of the impact of projects such as these on the recipients.
Lower School parents filled the Multi-Purpose Room during Wednesday’s “Coffee & Conversation” to listen to child psychologist Dr. Angela Steranko speak about responsible electronic use for their children.
Dr. Joaquim Goes, a research professor at Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University visited both campuses this week as part of our ongoing partnership with Columbia University. Dr. Goes’ research focuses on understanding how ocean ecosystems and plankton are responding to climate change. His studies on the effects of global warming and the subsequent melting Himalyan ice caps, shifting air and water currents, and massive increase in both the “green tide” and Dead Zone of the Arabian Sea parallel the algae issues we have been experiencing in the Gulf of Mexico.
As part of their unit about the culture of Guatemala, second graders in Mrs. Mejicanos’ Spanish class enjoyed a reading of “Rainbow Weaver” by Linda Elovitz Marshall. The story revolves around Ixchel, a young Mayan girl, who has learned the traditional art of weaving from her mother. Ixchel’s mother doesn’t have money to buy the colorful thread she wants to use to make her own creations because she is saving to buy her school supplies. She discovers that she can use the many plastic grocery bags that she finds along the roadside, simultaneously helping to clean up her village and repurpose plastic bags into something beautiful. Ixchel gets other people in the village to help her collect discarded plastic bags which she weaves into colorful products to sell at the town market, earning enough money to buy her school supplies.
An open mind and controlled focus are tools that help students in the classroom and beyond. As ODA continues to promote student wellness, teachers like Victoria Davis are equipping themselves with techniques to further support our students.
When it comes to social media, "Don't post anything you wouldn't want your grandma to read." This was the advice of Mr. Ben Tracy, a young professional who was on the fast track to a high profile career before being fired due to insensitive social media posts.
This year, ODA is excited to implement new programmatic enhancements with the addition of student support roles in math, STEM, and writing. Two of these new team members are alumni, excited to share the experience they have gained since their time at ODA with our current students.
The Out-of-Door Academy College Counseling Office is pleased to announce that seniors Arya Bulusu and Abby Eakle have been named as National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists, and William Leisher and Ashley Sciame have been recognized as Commended Scholars.
The Out-of-Door Academy senior stars on the school’s football, soccer and lacrosse teams, a captain on the first two. Playing the guitar, piano and ukulele keep Castro busy away from his various fields of competition.
Students at the Uihlein Campus marked the 18th anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11 with divisional assemblies commemorating the important day. The Uihlein Campus came together with music, video presentations, and student and faculty speakers to honor those who lost their lives as well as those who continue to serve and sacrifice for their communities and their country.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Food waste is the single largest component of waste sent for disposal, much of which ends up in landfills, where it generates methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.” Lower School students are taking action to ensure that ODA isn’t contributing to this harmful pollution.
Each year, The Out-of-Door Academy recognizes long-time employees for their dedication and service to our school. This year Martha Gulascy, Linda Vasilaki, Laura Murphy, Kathy Dozier, and Shelley Stone were honored at opening meetings for reaching career milestones of 20, 30 and 35 years at ODA.
At Out-of-Door, we recruit nationally to identify the best possible talent to educate our students and lead our programs. We are pleased to introduce15 new members of the ODA team who joined us at the start of the 2019-2020 academic year.
ODA students were treated to a unique experience as Art Teacher Mr. Levi Biedermann and guest artist Carla O’Brien from Sarasota Clay Company led an intense, day-long, hands-on raku firing last week. AP art students participated in the activity while other classes, students with free periods or study halls, and faculty members came to observe the stunning process that incorporates chemistry and history to create one-of-a-kind fine art pieces.
Out-of-Door is pleased to report that 2018-2019 has been the most successful year in the history of ODA Athletics! This year has seen the the largest number of student-athletes committing to compete in their sport–including several Division 1 colleges and universities, a huge amount of State Qualifiers, Regional Champions, and District Champions, and the highest number of ODA student-athletes nominated as HT Preps All-Area Athletes and Finalists.
The fifth grade showcased limitless creativity in both visual and performing arts during their annual Art Under the Banyan exhibit. The Kozel Family Amphitheater was filled with 2- and 3-dimensional art, along with smartphone-accessible videos featuring students speaking from inside their own artistic creation. Parents enjoyed a dramatic performance featuring ODA’s Core Values Unleashed, and Dr. Vasilaki's students filled the air with music.
Out-of-Door is proud to announce that Director of Dining Services Lindsey Kraus is the recipient of the 2018-2019 Flik Independent School Dining President’s Award. The prestigious award is given to a Flik associate who “consistently exceeds expectations, makes a positive difference in the lives of their guests and peers, exhibits humility, and strives for excellence every day.”
The Uihlein Campus was filled with the sights and sounds of music, song, and artistic expression this weekend for Middle and Upper School Arts Day. Interactive arts elements joined the exhibited artwork and performances by several groups this year. Attendees could create an active photo, watch a ceramics creation come to life on a wheel or splatter paint on an oversized canvas for a community-created collaborative piece.
Upper School students, faculty, and staff, celebrated four seniors who have committed to pursue athletic careers at the collegiate level. The student-athletes were surrounded by proud parents, siblings, and coaches as they took the next step toward furthering their education. This fall, these four standouts join the six who signed in the fall for a total of 10 senior student-athletes who are taking their game to the next level at institutions across the U.S.
Reevaluating the collection in ODA's Savidge-Bowers Library created an opportunity for some appreciative institutions. To make the print collection more relevant to our current needs and to make room for new titles, Director of Library Services Miss Alyssa Mandel spent most of the fall and winter evaluating the books and deciding what to keep and what to purge.
Students in Dr. Zitani’s Social and Cultural History of the American 20th Century course presented touching artistic reflections of spoken word, drawings, and songs based on their research of race, class, and gender during events throughout American history. Their impressive original works showcased the depth of their understanding of difficult times, offering a glimpse at the impact of these events on people and culture.
Sixteen studious Out-of-Door Upper and Middle School Latin students traveled to Orlando for the three-day 2019 Florida Junior Classical League (FJCL) State Latin Forum competition Sixteen studious Out-of-Door Upper and Middle School Latin students traveled to Orlando for the three-day 2019 Florida Junior Classical League (FJCL) State Latin Forum competition. ODA had several “firsts,” including the first sibling team in Olympika, Kelsey Lugannani ‘20 and Cameron Lugannani ‘23; first-time competition attendees Josh Cohen 20, Kelsey Lugannani ‘20, and Susan Pacer ‘20; and the first time ODA has had voting delegates – Arya Bulusu ‘20, Nina Dinh ‘20, Mira Khazanchi ‘20, Catie Pacer ’23, Johnny Robinson ‘23, and Ian Strang ‘23.
Out-of-Door seventh graders spent a full day immersed in hands-on STEM experiments just days before heading off for Spring Break. The students participated in a variety of experiments designed by both ODA faculty and visiting experts to simulate real-life science and medical scenarios.
The highlight of my year has been reconnecting with so many of you and getting to know other SK Alums who were here before my tenure at Out-of-Door. Whether it has been through networking events, playdates, social media, or email, it has been wonderful to hear about all the deep connections you have to our school. I have worked in, and visited many schools during my years in education, and I have yet to find a community like ours. Aren’t we fortunate?
Wearing special commemorative T-shirts emblazoned with a superhero-style shield and the letters “SD” on the front, and “Young” and the number 37 on the back, students, faculty, and staff gathered at the Uihlein Campus in Lakewood Ranch for Spirit Day today. One of Out-of-Door's oldest school traditions, the day was chock-full of games, camaraderie, and friendly competition for every student from pre-K to our soon-to-graduate seniors.
The Out-of-Door Academy and the Emmons Family are honored to announce Nevan Hernandez as the ninth recipient of the Taylor Emmons Scholarship. Nevan epitomizes Out-of-Door’s five Core Values: respect, integrity, service, excellence, and responsibility.
“Snail mail” has been traveling between the Siesta Key Campus and the Uihlein Campus as Out-of-Door Lower School and Middle School students collaborated in the Pen Pal Letters Project. The annual assignment pairs up 5th and 6th graders who write letters to their partners to share their thoughts and ideas about assigned novels they read in class with a common theme.
This year’s Upper School Musical “Songs for a New World” showcased impressive talent from a small cast who embraced this unique opportunity and performed with passion. The piece is an abstract musical in which each song shares the theme of how the choices we make impact our lives and the world around us.
The Out-of-Door Academy College Counseling Office is pleased to announce that seniors John Floersheimer and Ben Johnson have been named as National Merit Scholarship Finalists, and Nicklaus Auen, Adelaide Mahler, Kelland Timothy, and Clayton Watson have been recognized as Commended Scholars. Overall, the Class of 2019 has achieved the highest average SAT score in school history, eclipsing the previous record by 25 points!
Last week our young scientists at the Lower School had an exciting morning filled with fun, hands-on learning and experiments during the annual Science Olympiad. Many of these scientific activities occurred in outdoor spaces, keeping with the Out-of-Door tradition of students learning beyond the walls of a traditional classroom.
Ashley Sciame ‘20 was honored by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers with a Gold Key award for her creative writing submission in the 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. She earned a Silver Key in last year’s competition. Ashley’s piece, entered in the Science Fiction & Fantasy category, “The Serpent’s Song,” follows the challenges faced by a young woman with magical abilities who leaves home to travel the world.
This year, ODA’s Modern Languages Department sent a team of 16 students to compete in the annual Florida State Spanish Conference in Orlando, Florida. ODA’s largest team ever finished the competition in second place, missing the top prize in their division by just a few points. Many students received top honors to contribute to this strong finish including Nina Giraldo 21’, Arya Bulusu 20', Kate Crump 20’, and Adelaide Mahler 19’ who each earned perfect scores!
Eighth graders in pastel poodle skirts and bobby socks, rolled up 501s and black leather jackets took the dance floor Monday to show off moves they’ve been learning at the culminating event of their cross-curricular 1950s unit.
Each year, fifth grade students participate in the World Peace Game. This hands-on political simulation gives young students the opportunity to explore the global landscape by considering the impact of economic, social, and environmental crises and the threat of war.
As the sun set behind ODA’s Uihlein Campus, soothing melodies filled the air for a picturesque Jazz Under the Stars. This annual tradition features a variety of genres performed by our talented musicians in a unique and memorable showcase.
The Out-of-Door community came out in its finest to the Ritz Carlton on Saturday, March 9, 2019 for its annual Banyan Ball—an elegant evening of festivity and fundraising. The unforgettable evening themed “World Traveler” began with an exclusive VIP event.
In ODA’s first Technology Student Association (TSA) State Competition, sophomores Kaylen Rivers ‘21 and Reece Whatmore ‘21 created an interactive, tactile, assistive technology storybook for students with physical and intellectual impairment. Their second place finish in the category advances them to the National Competition in June.
The Out-of-Door Academy has had a strong representation on the Sarasota Youth Orchestra (SYO), Symphonic Winds, and Youth Opera Programs for many years. The SYO’s program has been hailed as one of the most exemplary youth programs in the Southeast. Each year, ODA students are encouraged to take advantage of amazing opportunities with these programs -located in the heart of our city.
ODA’s ACLU Club organized a “Know Your Rights” school assembly during last week’s Ovation. The assembly was conducted in a Town Hall style, allowing the Upper School students to stand up and ask panelists questions on the spot.
The covered pavilion behind the Petrik Family Commons was filled with laughing, smiling students and faculty during the annual SPECTRUM Heritage Festival last week. Participants set up their tables with regional treats and delicacies, sweet and savory, from Israel, Ireland, Jamaica, Mexico, and more, prepared to share not only their foods, but information about their background with the festival’s attendees.
Last weekend’s Middle and Upper School Broadway Matinee featured a selection of well-loved songs from the classic Broadway musicals "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," "The Phantom of the Opera," and "Jekyll and Hyde."
Over the last several months, the seventh grade boys and girls have had opportunities to meet in groups as part of the Out-of-Door Middle School’s mission to emphasize the importance of social-emotional well-being and learning to maintain a more balanced life.
During the 2019 Forte International Music Competition finals in New York City on February 2, The Out-of-Door Academy’s Arthur Wang ‘21, competed as one of two finalists in the 16 to 18 year old “Seniors” age group. Standing on the legendary stage in world-renowned Carnegie Hall, Arthur played “Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor,” Jean-Baptiste Accolay.
At the start of the 2018-2019 school year, students in 3rd-5th grade applied and were selected to be part of the ODA STEM Fair team. From this group, students decided whether they wanted to complete an engineering project or an experimental project, and were grouped according to interest. Students worked through the engineering design process or scientific method, defining the problem, asking questions, researching, experimenting and prototyping, analyzing the results, and finally presenting their findings.
ODA students had a spectacular showing at the Florida Junior Classical League Regional Forum this year. The 40 students, along with faculty chaperones Ms. Nicole Fafalios, Ms. Anya Grady, Ms. Alyssa Mandel, and Mr. Paul LeBras, traveled to Plant City for the day-long competition in multiple categories. ODA students took home a total of 44 awards/trophies.
Out-of-Door’s traditional Grandfriends Day was held on the Historic Siesta Key Campus on February 8, 2019. The annual event is an opportunity for students to invite their grandparents or special friends to visit ODA to experience the musical and theatrical talents of our students, participate in campus activities, and spend time together sharing what they are learning in classrooms.
At ODA, we know that equipping our parents with the knowledge and tools to help their children learn is an important part of the early childhood education process. Towards that end, kindergarten teachers recently held an in-class, hands-on literacy workshop with both students and parents.
Twelve Out-of-Door student-athletes were recently named as HT Preps All-Area High School Athletes for the Fall 2018 season. This is one of the largest groups of ODA student-athletes to be named to the list for a single season, reflecting the continued growth of all of our Thunder athletic programs.
Mira Khazanchi '20 and Paige Crittenden '20 have been selected as award recipients from a pool of 350,000 student submissions received by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers for the 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Mira received two Silver Keys and one Gold Key for her photography submission “Festivities,” and Paige received a Gold Key for her mixed media drawing “Through Someone Else’s Eyes.”
Students in Mrs. Daniela Rozanes’ AP Spanish Literature and AP Spanish Language & Culture classes, and Mr. Marc Robert’s Spanish V class collaborated on an intensive project to produce a Spanish-language digital magazine, El rincón del trueno (Thunder Corner).
Tigers, bears, and monkeys have filled the Black Box Theater for this week’s Middle School production of “The Jungle Book KIDS.” The ensemble cast showcases a range of characters as they lead us through the familiar story of a young boy raised by wild animals.
Orchestra Director Nicole Young, Dr. Linda Vasilaki, eighth grade violinist Natalie Carrión, and senior violist Christian Ramos attended the 75th anniversary of the Florida Music Educators Association Conference “Artistry, Teaching and Performing” in Tampa, Florida January 9-12. These two talented students were selected to represent Out-of-Door in the Middle School and High School All-State Orchestra Programs.
Learn how to do you laundry. Develop good relationships with your professors. Appreciate what you have here at Out-of-Door! These are just some of the nuggets of advice members of the Class of 2018 had for the senior class when they returned to campus in December to meet with seniors in their Issues in Contemporary Society classes.