By SB Williams

Summer is approaching and that means Odyssey, a program that brings 300 students from the Atlanta Public Schools to the Westminster Schools campus for six weeks each summer, is about to begin.

Originating in the early 1980s, Odyssey is a unique collaboration between Westminster Schools and Atlanta Public Schools for students in grades 3 through 12 who can benefit from a curriculum that focuses on the arts and skills that involve critical thinking, and for whom these opportunities might not otherwise be available.

The program is offered at no charge; transportation, lunch and snacks are provided for the students. A select faculty of experienced teachers, as well as a cadre of high school counselors, provides leadership and act as role models.

Students are encouraged to come back every summer for the programs, and get a new experience each time.

For third graders, the overall motto is “Use Health and Exercise to Help Sharpen Your Mind!”  Field trips include visits to Whole Foods, Good Samaritan Clinic, Cartoon Network and Clarkston Community Garden. Guest speakers may be nutritionists, pediatricians, food specialists, and athletic trainers.
Over the next eight summers, students improve their math and writing skills, lean about other cultures, creating a new business, how the court system works, building robots and making videos.

Rising seniors round of their experiences with “Odyssey U,” a three day trip to visit local colleges, prepare for SAT tests, meet college counselors, and practice college admission essay writing.

Parental excitement and appreciation of the program was articulated by individual mothers at the recent Tea for Odyssey at Ansley Golf Course.
“The Odyssey program has been so beneficial for our daughter, Monica,” said speaker Bobbie Bable. “The fun, innovative, curriculum has helped her continue to learn during the summers; she loves it!”

Odyssey is an independent, non-profit organization and is always looking for contributions from foundations, corporations, and individuals as well as tickets to performances, speakers and other meaningful opportunities from non-profit partners.

For more information contact: Executive Director M.J.Thorne, Executive at (404) 609-6409 or MJThorne@odysseyatlanta.org.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.