Filotimo! The School Where Honor and Education go Hand-in-Hand
The Yass Prize Makes its 4th Stop at Award-Winning Greek Immersion School
Feb 7, 2024
| Yass Prize staff
Our fourth STOP for Education on the Roadshow for Opportunity was an example of what’s possible when community leaders have the freedom to create their dream school. Odyssey Charter School is precisely that, and an intersection between education, culture and the arts that now educates over 2,200 students across a sprawling campus with actively engaged parents and civic leaders.
Watch students singing and participating only in Greek
The award-winning Hellenic education model not only immerses children in the Greek Language (from which 30% of the English language is derived) but also has a strong foundation in civics, classical thinking, and the Socratic method, all the while integrated with AI technology. That’s because, as its dynamic director Elias Papas says, “There is no greater good than to teach people to honor each other.” And that honor echoes across the deep, immersive, and integrated learning environment that won Odyssey a coveted STOP Award and Yass Prize Finalist slot in December 2023. Odyssey is truly creating global change-makers.
The tour kicked off with a stop at the Hydroponics Lab. Odyssey high schoolers demonstrated the hands-on harvesting experience they receive through their Food Science courses, and proudly shared that all food they harvest is donated to people who do not have access to fresh produce!
The eco-school infrastructure does not stop there. We also had the opportunity to meet the three goats and 16 egg-laying chickens housed in the school’s Urban Farm, including the newest – Athena!
Up next was a Socratic seminar, where fourth graders debated whether or not there should be an official Olympic Games for kids! These fourth-grade students engaging in civil discourse acted more like adults than many of the adults we see these days!
And across campus at the lower school, first graders, kindergartners, and the Greek language immersion program teachers demonstrated just how essential a bilingual educational experience is–the joy in the room was palpable.
What’s more, CEO Jeanne Allen was even gifted the book that was the foundation for the school’s Greek curriculum, presented by the very teacher who authored it, Maria Paraponiari.
To close out the day, we were wowed by business pitches from the young entrepreneurs of tomorrow. In fact, the teens at Odyssey can enroll in the University of Delaware Horn Program’s EntreX Lab: High School Entrepreneurship Learning Experience, which has the hallmarks of first-hand experiences and accelerated learning outcomes in preparation for college. They are even given the opportunity to participate in the globally recognized Diamond Challenge curriculum.
The students seem to have the same kind of understanding of the opportunity they are getting, too. Senior class president Mia Carini told us, “Odyssey has set me up for success and helped me dial-in to exactly what I want to do in college.”
Just like the Red Hot Chili Peppers “Can’t Stop,” we have a feeling that immersive Greek education models aren’t slowing down anytime soon. In fact, this one is growing with a new pre-k classroom coming online this fall, and the school’s leadership is working to replicate their model and excited to coach and support the next Greek school, which, if you’re lucky, will be in your community.
“What we saw was joy, we saw honor – as they talk about ‘Filotimo’ – we saw an expansive array of opportunities for students to learn in their own way, and we saw committed teachers and leaders.”
Do you make a significant impact in education? Are you inspired to join a cohort of education innovators like our 2023 Yass Prize Winner, Valiant Cross Academy? Submit your application for the 2024 Yass Prize and showcase your innovative contributions in the nation’s premiere education competition. Apply for the Yass Prize, the Pulitzer of Education today!