SummerQuest back in session

Special to the Daily

VAIL — A local private school’s summer program is giving at-risk kids a long look at a brighter future.

Vail Mountain School’s SummerQuest is in its 18th year, showing three dozen middle school students each summer that there is life after adolescence.

“We’re encouraging the kids to believe in themselves and embrace possibility. It keeps good kids off the list of becoming at-risk,” said Dr. Kate Drescher, SummerQuest board member. “It’s about inspiring optimism and a sense of possibility about the future.”

SummerQuest is for Eagle County public school students in grades fifth through eighth, who have all the potential in the world, but need a little help because of language and socio-economic challenges, said Liana Sideli, SummerQuest director.

Their teachers refer them to the program because they have the potential to do better, if they just have the proper motivation and attention, Sideli said. It’s too late for this year.

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“The goal is for the students to get one-on-one attention that they might not get during the school year,” Sideli said.

The maximum program is about 36. They have about 12 kids per class and each class has at least three teachers: a professional teacher, a college student and a high school student.

Students are nominated for the program by teachers from their public schools. It’s free for the students, including transportation to and from the Vail Mountain School campus each day.

Classes run five days a week during July and students work with math reasoning and computation, reading comprehension, spelling, writing and public speaking.

Students participate in team building activities, college visits, sports, and community service, as well as attending cultural events such as Bravo! Vail concerts and Rockies baseball games.

“In the last seven years attrition rates in the program have dropped dramatically. Kids are asking to stay in the program or come back to the program to teach,” Sideli said. “Most are the first in their families to even think of higher education.

To wrap it up on July 26, Family Futures Night will feature Dr. Miguel Canales, medical director and senior vice president at Restoration Robotics. Canales has developed and helped launch successful robotic surgical procedures. He holds a B.S. from Stanford University and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935, and

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