It’s 9:30 in the evening, and a gaggle of girls are gathered in the Winning dorm room of their PacificQuest counselor. They’ve just finished up an evening worship, and now they’re enthusiastically eating crackers and chocolate chip cookies and discussing the characters on a TV show.
One traipses down the hall to her own room, saying, “I think I’m going to go to bed now.” Another goes in search of an ice machine, while a third tries to figure out whether she can use the computer in the parlor to do research for her political science presentation tomorrow. “ There’s root beer in my room,” announces a fourth. Meanwhile, over in Newton, the boys are up late with a long-lasting game of Mafia.
Every summer PacificQuest gives about 25 academically advanced 7th to 9th graders a chance to explore some college-level courses and to earn one college credit. Though evenings at this year’s annual PacificQuest were laid-back, students were kept plentifully busy during the day with their political science, chemistry, and computer art classes, interspersed with meals and recreation time.
In this year’s political science class, taught by the history department’s Paul McGraw, the students explored major issues of the 2004 American elections. Activities included the division of the students into political parties—the Democrats, Republicans, Green Party, and Libertarians. Milbert Mariano led out in the computer art class as a group of young students drew self-portraits against the background of their home landscape. And Richard Clark and Bill Hemmerlin instructed the group of youngsters in “hands-on” chemistry.