Our Odyssey PTO is a very active organization! We love to provide opportunities for Odyssey families and faculty to learn and grow together, so we work very hard to organize great events throughout the year. Many of them have been Odyssey traditions since the school first opened. We also provide funding for items that may not be in the school budget. For example, in past years, the PTO has purchased library software, cafeteria tables, a sound system, folding tables and chairs, and much more. Of course, in order to provide these opportunities, we must raise money to pay for them! Our main traditional fundraiser is the annual Mum Sale, but we actually raise the most money through our Fall Festival and Touch A Truck events, which are open to the entire community.
Below is a listing of events and fundraising activities we have organized in past years. Each year our calendar of events and activities fluctuates due to logistics, timing of the school calendar, and sometimes an interest in trying something new. We hope the list below gives you an idea of the level of involvement, commitment and love our PTO has for the families and faculty of Odyssey Charter School!
PTO Kick Off Party
Our PTO Kick Off Party is the first official event of the school year. Typically held a couple of weeks after the start of school, this event allows parents to catch up with each other after the long summer while the kids enjoy themselves on the field and/or on the playground. PTO provides a free hot-dog dinner and there is a short PTO meeting so that members can vote on the PTO budget for the school year. Perhaps the best part of this event is the kickball tournament of students vs. parents! The PTO Kick-Off party provides loads of free family fun for everyone.
Spirit Nights are a great way to show your Odyssey spirit, catch up with friends from school and help raise a little money for the PTO! We hold spirit nights all over town but we really love Starlite Skating Rink, Johnny’s Pizza, Partner’s Pizza, Panda Express, Bruster’s Ice Cream and Chick-Fil-A for our spirit nights. Typically, the restaurant or facility will give the PTO a percentage of the sales for the night and sometimes there is a prize for the class who has the most students in attendance.
Mum Sale/Poinsettia Sale
Since 2010, the main traditional fundraisers for Odyssey PTO have been the annual Mum and Poinsettia sales. The Mum Sale typically takes place in late August/early September and the Poinsettia sale takes place in November. The plants come directly to the school fresh from Coweta Greenhouses in Newnan. Everyone loves these plants because they are big, beautiful, fresh and long-lasting. On delivery day, the parking lot is filled with color and volunteers arrive early to sort all the plants in a whirlwind of flora and fauna! Distribution typically takes place during afternoon car line.
We have offered some really fun incentives for the students too. For several years, the cluster that sold the most plants was able to decorate their teachers like holiday trees and they went on a parade around the school singing holiday songs. Our School Principal has had pumpkin guts dumped on his head, he’s been made into a giant sugar cookie, and one year he even spent the night on the roof of the school because the students sold more than 450 mums! Oh, and we can’t forget the year the Principal and Assistant Principal each had to kiss a goat!
Money raised from the Mum Sale and Poinsettia sale helps us provide all of the family events that we do all year.
Fall Festival is a long-standing tradition and is by far our largest event of the year. Long ago, we outgrew the field beside the school and now this event is held every October at Ashley Park Mall in the parking lot adjacent to the movie theater. Fall Festival is open to the general public and typically includes bounce houses, pony rides, all kinds of games with prizes, face painting, food, raffles, and sometimes we even have concerts! In addition, every classroom provides a themed basket full of goodies for the silent auction.
This particular event is not only loads of fun for our Odyssey families and a great way to raise money for the school, but it also serves as a fantastic way for us to reach out to the community. By allowing a discounted admission in exchange for donations of canned goods, we have supported the Coweta Community Food Pantry through this event and in some years we have shared a portion of our proceeds with Coweta County Special Olympics.
Red Ribbon Week
Every October, schools around the nation celebrate Red Ribbon Week and Odyssey Charter School is no exception. Started in the 1980s, Red Ribbon Week is a campaign to remind students how important it is to stay away from drugs, alcohol and tobacco use. Odyssey PTO typically organizes a spirit week where kids can wear wacky clothes combinations and each themed day has a Red Ribbon Week slogan to go with it. For example, “I mustache you not to do drugs”, “I’m too bright for drugs” or “Team up against drugs”. On those days, kids wear fake mustaches, bright colors or team jerseys. It’s a fun way to start the conversation with the kids about the importance of staying away from drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
Our annual Thanksgiving Feast is a tradition that dates back to the very start of Odyssey school. Back then, we had just over 100 students and we had one giant Thanksgiving feast for all the students, faculty and parents to enjoy on a single day right before Thanksgiving break. Now we have five straight days of Thanksgiving feasts to accommodate all of our students, faculty and families! This is one of the most beloved Odyssey traditions and it truly demonstrates the family and community spirit of our school.
The PTO also gets everyone into the Thanksgiving spirit by decorating the cafegymatorium for the event. Everyone eats together in the cafegymatorium like one big family.
Even after all the feasting, we always have lots of leftovers. In 2013, we invited local firemen, police officers and EMTs to come and enjoy the feast with us!
One of the ways the PTO helps to make the holiday season special is by giving our students an opportunity to make handmade gifts for their friends and family. The students enjoy these Elf Workshops immensely and their smiles as they hold up their finished projects are just priceless.
Our Elf Workshops are typically held after school during the first week of December. Bubbles and Brushes Art Studio sends over their very best art teachers to guide and assist our little Odyssey elves as they create works of art that will become treasured family keepsakes. The Elf Workshops have become very popular and space is limited so students must pre-register for the days they want to attend.
Dinner With Santa/Cookies with Santa
Dinner With Santa was first held in the 2011-2102 school year. Santa joined our Odyssey families for a fun spaghetti dinner and the Odyssey chorus performed Christmas carols for everyone. A photographer was on hand to capture the memories as children sat on Santa’s lap and shared their Christmas wishes. A few years later, we switched it to Cookies with Santa, which was a little easier to organize!
Family Game Night/Bingo Night
Who doesn’t love board games and bingo?! Family Game Night is loads of fun for every age group. One year we played “Wheel of Misfortune” and a newspaper scavenger hunt. Other times we have had Wi and Xbox battles and sometimes it’s just some fun, old-fashioned BINGO! No matter how you slice it, it’s always fun and a great opportunity for Odyssey families to get together.
Carnations and Kisses
Carnations and Kisses is a sweet fundraiser we do in early February. For $1, we offer carnations or bags of Hershey’s Kisses with a “love” note attached that parents or students can have sent to anyone they choose on Valentine’s Day.
Odyssey PTO’s annual International Night is becoming one of our most attended school events. In 2011, the first year of International Night, the PTO won an award for Best Multicultural Event in the PTO Today Parent Group of the Year contest.
International Night is held every February with tremendous support from the faculty, administration, and families. Each classroom selects a country that they wish to represent and then they research and learn about that country throughout the school year. On International Night, they set up a display featuring interesting facts and delicious foods from their country. The best part is that the displays do not indicate the name of the country! Students have to go to each display, read about the country and figure out where they are visiting in order to get their “passport” stamped.
In addition to the classroom countries, Odyssey families are invited to participate by representing their native countries and various International groups and organizations are invited to come as well. Over the years, we have had Korean dancers, puppets from around the world, exchange students, and an entire room filled with Chinese cultural activities.
In the weeks leading up to International Night, we also hold a Penny War to benefit an international charity. The goal of the Penny War is to teach students that they can make a difference in the world, even with their pocket change. We have raised over $2000 for Heifer International and we have also supported Habitat for Humanity.
Tiger Pride Variety Show
Odyssey students have talent and it is always on display at the Tiger Pride Variety Show! Typically held in the spring, the Variety Show includes all kinds of acts – singing, dancing, musicians, cheerleading, magic, even some stand-up comedy! And there are always some wacky things mixed in like parents dressed in chicken suits, the Village People performing YMCA, or a Gangnam Style school-wide video.
Not only do our students and sometimes their family members participate, but many of our Odyssey staff members show off their talents as well. We have a videographer every year who records the entire show and DVDs are available for purchase. This is a very entertaining event that you do not want to miss!
If you are interested in purchasing any of the Tiger Pride Variety Show DVDs from past years, please contact Hover Video Productions at 770.715.6444.
Teacher Appreciation Week
PTO loves to show support for our fantastic faculty and there’s no better time than Teacher Appreciation Week! Every year is different, but we’ve let our staff know how much they are appreciated by showering them with lasagna dinners, jars of joy, gift cards, massages, flowers, candy buffets, and so much more.
Odyssey holds two Field Days each May, one for middle school and one for elementary, and PTO provides the funding for both. Not only are the traditional field day games present (sack race anyone?) but we also have bounce houses and other fun activities for the kids to enjoy as the school year comes to a close.
Odyssey PTO sponsors the production of our Yearbook every year. This huge endeavor is led by our fabulous Gifted teacher, Ms. Hope Callahan, along with a few student helpers. Our yearbooks are hard-cover, full-color books and usually have about 90 pages and a huge number of pictures, both candid and staged.
Everyone can contribute to the yearbook! If you have taken some awesome pictures at an Odyssey event or activity, or even just in the classroom, you can submit them to be included in the yearbook. Some pictures may even end up on our school website. To submit your pictures, order your yearbook online, or to purchase copies of a yearbook from a past year, please visit our Yearbook page.
Touch-A-Truck is an annual event organized by Odyssey PTO. Touch-A-Truck started in 2012 and was previously held every June in the parking lot of Ashley Park Mall. Beginning in 2016, Touch-A-Truck will be combined with the Southside STEAM Expo and will therefore be held each spring at the Coweta County Fairgrounds. This will allow a lot more space for all of the great vehicles that want to participate and families can enjoy both the STEAM Expo and Touch-A-Truck at the same time.
During Touch-A-Truck, kids (and adults!) have the opportunity to explore all kinds of interesting vehicles such as fire trucks, police cars, race cars, construction equipment, ambulances, limos, military vehicles, tow trucks, delivery trucks, motorcycles, transit buses and much more. There were more than 50 vehicles featured in 2014.
Not only is Touch-A-Truck fun, but it also supports several organizations in our community. Attendees can get $1 off admission if they bring a non-perishable food item for the Coweta Community Food Pantry. Over the years, we have collected more than 1000 items for the pantry.
In addition, for the last two years, Touch-A-Truck has also hosted an American Red Cross blood drive. In 2014, over 40 pints of blood were donated during our event. In 2014, we also had booths for Abby’s Angels Foundation and the Jason Trotter Foundation. In past years, we have also supported the American Cancer Society during Touch A Truck.