Here at PA Distance, we work to unlock the potential that lies within our students so that can reach their personal best.
Through a partnership with Grow a Generation, the Odyssey Fellowship Program is designed as an ongoing opportunity for student fellows to move through an ‘odyssey’ of a fascinating topic. Each fellow works on projects that pertain to their chosen topic to grow their understanding of the world.
Brought to PA Distance in 2018, the Odyssey Fellowship Program is a unique opportunity made available to students who have been enrolled for at least a year in grades 3-12 and are in good academic standing. Students who qualify may fill out an application and if chosen, will be admitted into the program during their entire time at PA Distance.
Odyssey Fellows learn about a variety of topics while in the program like developing a brand, logo, and website. The "odyssey" takes them through four stages: Find Your Passion, Build Your Tribe, Craft Your Story, and Market Your Brand. They learn problem-solving skills, interview experts in the field, organize and plan events (both virtually and in-person), scriptwriting, video production, graphic design,and professional correspondence.
Fellows meet weekly, every Friday, for 45 minutes while engaging in a variety of experiences and activities that help them move toward becoming STEM Athletes, Digital Storytellers, and World Changers. Our fellows have developed several projects in the last two years, including Cutting Edge in Healthcare, AgTech, Terms of Service, Life on a Wall.
Josh M., PA Distance graduate and former Odyssey Fellow, identified fitness and healthy living as his passion. For his project, he decided to create his own brand identity and fitness website designed to help kids understand the importance of exercise and how to create a fitness plan. His website utilized workout videos and interviews with fitness professionals to help educate readers.
“There were so many opportunities at PA Distance and, because of that, I was able to work with a teacher to help create a website specifically for kid’s fitness,” Josh explained.
Joshua S., another former student and Odyssey Fellow, described his experience, saying “My experience with the Odyssey Program has been something that will live with me far after my learning experience comes to an end. It’s taught me so many things about myself and about the world around me. Such as some of my strengths, weaknesses, and many professional skills I will take with me after we’re finished.” Joshua and his partner, Molly, are part of the “Life on the Wall” project in the Odyssey Fellowship Program.
“I couldn’t be happier with how our projects turned out and I am proud to have been an Odyssey Fellow,” Joshua adds.
As a whole, the Odyssey Fellowship Program is a good deal of work but done in an atmosphere of fun while encouraging exploration. The program is goal-driven, with lots of tutorials and encouragement, allowing fellows to take pride in their extra efforts throughout the school year.
The Odyssey Fellowship seeks to produce artifacts (digital artifacts) worthy of portfolios and for college (or grant) applications. Many fellows use their experiences in the program to write their college essays. More and more schools are looking at more than a student’s GPA and SAT scores, but leadership and critical thinking skills found in the Odyssey Program.
PA Distance students who are interested in becoming an Odyssey Fellow should reach out to After-School Programs Coordinator, Mrs. Darcy Bible, for information about program commitments and the application process.