Continuing the journey

Odyssey student and her two daughters in masks

“Odyssey is a journey I need to complete so I can overcome fears and make a new life for myself,” Michelle wrote on her final assignment for 2020.

Classes for the second half of our two‑semester Odyssey Project course will begin January 27, with students eager to continue their life‑changing adventure. Having shared writing about alcoholism, teen pregnancy and other challenges in her family, Michelle proclaimed, “I have learned that my story is nothing to be ashamed of. My grandma always told me the only thing you can take with you when you die is your education. I never realized how right she was until recently. I am tired of working hard and barely having enough money to pay my bills. Odyssey is my way to a better life, a better job and a better me.” She vows to continue after Odyssey to earn her degree and a career in social work or criminal justice.

Asked why he wants to attend the second semester of Odyssey, Farren replied that the course already has prompted “a period of productive self‑examination” and shown him “history free from whitewashing,” along with great art and literature stimulating empathy. “When we discussed Plato’s Allegory of the Cave in class, we heard stories of addiction, poverty, abuse, religious indoctrination and brainwashing by mass media. For many of us, escaping the cave could quite literally be life or death. I want to continue in Odyssey because the journey is far from over; this ship cannot stop here. Onwards to Ithaca we go!”

Asia pointed to her pride in seeing her writing in print in our student Oracle: “I would like to continue to be a part of Odyssey because I see growth in myself. I am very proud of my writing. Every time I read through the Oracle and see my thoughts, I feel important and accomplished.”

For Yvonne, the change is two‑generational: “When I pick up my pen, my kids (who also struggle with school work) pick up their pencils and begin to write; a month ago they couldn’t do that. We have learned not to be ashamed to let people help us with our writing. I’m happy to be a part of Odyssey and Odyssey Junior and can’t wait to see what’s next.”

Like our students, our whole Odyssey team feels a renewed sense of passion and purpose as we begin the new year “virtually together.”