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Upper School Students Reimagine The ODA Bolt

Members of the Class of 2022 take on the challenge of revising the student newspaper.

Story by Madeline Kwan ‘22 and Samantha Malcolm ‘22
This year, the ODA Bolt, Out-of-Door’s student newspaper, has undergone a major revamping led by a group of dedicated and committed students in the Class of 2022. Each member of the staff joined due to their passion for writing and their desire to connect with the ODA community.

The student publication no longer operates within an elective class or club period, and students do not receive academic credit for their dedication. Staff members of The ODA Bolt invest their personal time to brainstorm, draft, and create the stories they wish to share with the student body. 

Junior Megan Dowdell’s main objective as a staff member is to help bridge the gap between remote and in-person students. “I plan to research and report on the perspectives of both groups of students to fully capture the pulse of the student body,” she said.

Under the guidance of Ms. Camela Giraud, Director of Collaborative Learning and Educational Outreach, Samanth Malcolm ’22 and Madeline Kwan ’22 outlined an ambitious plan: redesign the online publication’s website, expand the staff, increase readership, create fresh and relevant content, and fuel engagement of the school community with the exciting growth of the publication. To research and hone their skills in journalism, the two  juniors attended virtual courses offered by School Newspapers Online to study modern website design, editing, and site analytics.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the publication is operating during an unusual year. Out-of-Door’s transition to a hybrid model of learning to best meet student needs, allows students to elect to attend school on campus or virtually. To maintain consistent staff communication, Samantha and Madeline utilize Zoom to hold weekly meetings. These meetings keep the online and in-person staff in contact with each other and are valuable in allowing each student to pose questions and provide updates.

An additional goal for the ODA Bolt staff is to engage and increase the skills they will use in future pursuits. 

In addition to her role as a staff photographer, Senja Levy ’22 is also one of the paper’s writers. “I joined the paper to improve my writing techniques,” she said. “Working on the newspaper will help me in the future. Astute writing is crucial in a job that involves finance or politics...writing for the newspaper has taught me that persistence is the key to [achieving] exceptional results.” 

The staff has expressed interest in widening the scope of the publication to encompass student involvement within the broader community. One significant aim of the publication is to emphasize the relationship Out-of-Door students have with society outside of the school community, especially in regards to service initiatives and unique perspectives surrounding current events.

Karalyn Davis ‘22 said she “loves to recognize students doing great things for others on campus. I think with all the negativity in the world, it would be wonderful to highlight the good things going on as well.”

The Out-of-Door Academy

LOWER SCHOOL |  Historic Siesta Key Campus  |  Pre-K – Grade 5
444 Reid Street, Sarasota, FL 34242  |  941-349-3223  |  Fax: 941-349-8133

  |  Uihlein Campus in Lakewood Ranch  |  Grades 6 – 8 |  Grades 9 – 12
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