SummerQuest celebrates its 25th year at Vail Mountain School
SummerQuest represents one of Vail Mountain School’s most powerful contributions to the community
SummerQuest, an innovative program that serves Eagle County public school students in grades six through eight, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
SummerQuest represents one of Vail Mountain School’s most powerful contributions to the community by serving students who have great potential but are in need of some remediation. Math reasoning and computation, reading comprehension, spelling, writing and public speaking are the focuses of the academic program which runs for three and a half weeks each July. Students also participate in electives such as 3D printing, dance, STEAM, art and sports. Academic classes are supplemented with outdoor activities including: a rock climbing trip at Camp Hale, rafting down the upper Colorado River and team building at the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center.
Students and teachers also give back to our community by working with the Eagle River Watershed Council and the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens clearing infectious weeds along the banks of Gore Creek and Nottingham Lake. Eighth grade students also take a tour of Colorado Mesa State University to help them understand that college is an accessible option.
Elsie Macsata, a SummerQuest instructor for the past four years and an alumnus of Vail Mountain School, enthusiastically endorses the program.
“I have seen students grow and flourish each year they are here. SummerQuest is jam-packed with academic support and is also a safe space for students to find out who they are and maybe what kind of person they want to become,” Macsata said.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
SummerQuest focuses on the overall well-being of the student in and out of the classroom. Rapport, engagement and participation are emphasized by a team of high school and college age teachers, young professional teachers and a staff psychologist. A low student to teacher ratio allows for individualized support and differentiation, while at the same time helping students build on existing strengths.
“SummerQuest celebrates the individuality of students and meets them where they are. While blending summer school and summer camp experiences, our staff members build meaningful relationships with each child. Throughout the month, students gain confidence in themselves and their academics, and by students’ third year, they are ready to tackle high school,” said Lauren Powell who has served as SummerQuest director for five years.
As the culmination to the three week program, SummerQuest students plan and direct their own graduation where they speak about their growth and their plans for the coming academic year.
One SummerQuest student sums up his experience, “It’s not only work but fun also. We get to go outside and also volunteer. We work hard in every single subject but we learn in a fun way. The teachers are great.”
The program is free to all students who attend. SummerQuest is made possible by the generous financial support of Alpine Bank, a longtime supporter of this program, and supported by grants and Vail Mountain School. Through the efforts of dedicated teachers and staff as well as enthusiastic Vail Mountain School students and alumni, SummerQuest has become an important part of giving back to the community.