Banyan Bash: “Growing Our Family Tree”


Kaitlyn Eckart Facebook

Sabrina, a Saint Bernard poodle mix puppy, visited the Upper School during lunch on the Wednesday before the Banyan Bash, giving students a glimpse of what the event had to entail. Her wide-mouthed grin and nonstop wagging tail had students in a frenzy, urging their parents to bid on her at the school’s annual fundraiser this weekend, Banyan Bash.

Banyan Bash is ODA’s inaugural fundraiser to support faculty professional development, financial assistance and to provide the necessary resources for faculty enhancements. A share of the profits from the benefit goes into the ODA endowment, the financial foundation for the school.

This year, the Banyan Bash theme is “Growing Our Family Tree,” which symbolizes the growth of our school community. The number of students at ODA is higher than ever. As a result, ODA will soon begin expanding faculty and adding new facilities at the Uihlein campus.

In previous years, the Banyan Bash was known as the “Banyan Ball” and was an extravagant gala at which the guests were required to wear formal attire. The dinner and live auction were held at the Siesta Key Campus under the banyan tree, but this year a lot has changed. No longer are guests wearing suits and ties and long lavish gowns, but dress slacks, jackets and cocktail dresses. Another change in the move from the ball to the bash was the online auction where over 100 items were listed and sold. The event and dinner will be held at the Lakewood Ranch Campus.

The silent online auction, which included items like spa days, rounds of golf, sports tickets, week vacations at resorts, a luxury sunset cruise for eight, horseback riding lessons, and favorites like headmaster for a day, parking spots at both campuses, honorary cheer captain or football captain during the homecoming game, naming streets at the Lower School as well as the circle at the Upper School, and of course a puppy, ended the night of March 9th and raised over $70,000 for the school.

If I could ask my parents to bid on one item, it would be a spa day. That’s what I really need right now, and there’s something at the auction for everyone.”

— Mandy Durfee '14


ODA is an independent school, which relies on donations, but due to the relationships we have with our families, we don’t have a problem receiving donations. Out-of-Door is fortunate to have such caring and giving parents and donators, and without our benefactors, what we have at ODA would not exist.

On Saturday night, parents and faculty will gather under the thousands of lights above and around the quad that have been put up all week. They will enjoy a relaxing dinner under the stars while those who bought items from the auction received their items. Some of the items are still up for grabs and will be announced at the bash. There is much anticipation to know which lucky ODA family will be going home with Sabrina, ODA’s most famous puppy.