Student Life


Stepping stones, running under the Banyan tree on the Siesta Key Campus, Spirit Day competitions, and many other festivities — these simple but precious memories and traditions bind together generations of current students and alumni.
Out-of-Door alumni are keenly aware that their experience stands apart from those who attended other schools. Students are genuinely excited to be a part of Out-of-Door because at the heart of the school is a kind and nurturing community. Many traditions bring together students, families, faculty, and alumni to celebrate and reaffirm the strength of the Out-of-Door community. 

List of 9 items.

  • Stepping Stones

    Stepping stones are one of the school's oldest traditions. The idea began with a Rollins College celebrity walk established in 1929 that Thomas Edison adapted for his own estate. ODS students visited the Edison estate and were inspired to create their own stepping stones in 1933 to form a path to the Catherine Gavin Memorial Library. New stones are added every year by each member of the fifth grade class.
  • Convocation

    The Convocation tradition began in 2002. This ceremony brings together the Uihlein Campus and the kindergarten class. Seniors are honored as the leaders of the school and paired up with a kindergarten buddy who they work with throughout the year. This tradition creates a unique bond between our oldest students and their kindergarten counterparts.
  • Spirit Day

    The entire student body participates in Spirt Day–a day filled with friendly competition between assigned blue and white teams. Grade-level challenges take place on the courts and fields with water balloons, potato sacks, hula hoops and more. An annual peanut butter and jelly drive supports All Faiths Food Bank’s Campaign Against Summer Hunger. 
  • Grandfriends Day

    On Grandfriends Day, grandparents and special guests are invited to the Siesta Key campus to experience a day in the life of their ODA student. Guests enjoy musical performances and participate in activities with students to see what students are learning. 
  • Graduation Ceremonies

    Students are celebrated for completing Lower School, Middle School and Upper School with ceremonies acknowledging their growth. Senior Commencement is the pinnacle of the high school experience as graduates pursue higher education and go on to leave a mark on the world.
  • Homecoming Football Game & Family Picnic

    The entire school community comes together for the Homecoming festivities, including a family picnic and football game. School spirit abounds as fans cheer the team on and enjoy a half-time performance and presentation of Homecoming court.
  • Banyan Ball

    Since 1979, Banyan Ball (formerly known as Extravaganza) has been ODA's primary fundraising event, raising millions to support capital improvements, scholarships, faculty salaries, endowment, and more. The elegant social event includes an online auction, dinner, dancing, and a live auction of exquisite items.
  • Middle School Minimester

    Middle School students take part in a trip each spring where they can explore educational sites as they travel with their classmates. Each grade level visits a different region of the country that reinforces information they have learned in classes throughout the year.
  • Lower School Events

    Annual performances like the 5-a-Day Play that teaches students about nutrition are woven into the curriculum. "Crossing the Mulch" from one side of campus to the other marks arrival in third grade. Book Fairs, Wax Museum, Iditarod, and Turkey Bowl are staples of the ODA Lower School experience.

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

LOWER SCHOOL |  Lower School Campus on Clark Road  |  Pre-K – Grade 1
11011 Clark Rd, Sarasota, FL 34241   |  COMING SOON

  |  Uihlein Campus in Lakewood Ranch  |  Grades 6 – 8 |  Grades 9 – 12
5950 Deer Drive, Sarasota, FL 34240  |  941-349-3223  |  Fax: 941-907-1251
The Out-of-Door Academy does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, physical ability, religion, sex, age, gender, sexual orientation, or national origin.
The Out-of-Door Academy is an equal opportunity employer.

© 2023 The Out-of-Door Academy