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 day began with our annual service project collecting peanut butter and jelly to benefit All Faiths Food Bank's Campaign Against Summer Hunger. The Blue Team donated 517 jars of peanut butter and the White Team donated 482 jars of jelly, totaling 999 jars of food.
As a special surprise, ODA alumni joined our current students in Thunder Stadium during the opening ceremonies to honor Coach Mike Young. This year is Coach Young’s 37th and final year at ODA before he retires, and the number of students he has positively influenced is staggering. Coach Young has been integral to Spirit Day activities throughout his tenure, so honoring him during this special day was fitting. In addition, Head of School, Mr. David Mahler also honored Mrs. Frances Williams, who will be retiring at the end of this year after 24 years of service. Mr. Mahler, Coach Young, and Mrs. Williams then officially opened the competition with the unified proclamation, "Let the games begin!"
The friendly competition commenced with the student processional around the track before the games officially began with the 8th grade obstacle course where the Blue Team narrowly outpaced the White Team. Students then broke into grade level "Olympic-style" competitions including events such as the balloon toss, kickball, and water games. Spirit Day ended with the highly anticipated senior obstacle course, which the Blue Team won in a close finish. At the close of the event, there were smiles, laughter, and an incredible celebration of the sportsmanship between the two groups with the White Team edging out the Blue Team as the winner of 2019 Spirit Day.
Congratulations to all of our students for competing with integrity. A special thank you to our parent volunteers for helping count the peanut butter and jelly donations and to all parents who were on campus today to lend a hand!