Academically outstanding students in grades seven to nine got a weeklong taste of college life from July 20-25 at PacificQuest, PUC’s annual summer program. During the week, the 19 PacificQuest campers lived on-campus and experienced college-level coursework.
“The mission behind PacificQuest is to provide academically gifted junior-high students with an opportunity to collaboratively explore topics that they may not have the opportunity to engage in otherwise within the traditional school curriculum—all while getting a small taste of PUC campus culture!” shared PacificQuest Academic Director Tauva Hellie.
Students participated in two courses, a core class and an elective option. This year’s core class was Music and Storytelling, taught by Rachelle Davis, professor of music and chair of the department of music. The course explored the fundamental elements that are used to express emotion and tell stories through music. At the awards program on July 25, groups of students demonstrated what they had learning by sharing short videos that utilized carefully chosen music.
In addition to the Music and Storytelling course, students chose between The Legacy of Graphic Design: Leave Your Mark and Physics: Beyond a Mere Observation, both challenging and inspiring options for the budding intellectuals in attendance.
In The Legacy of Graphic Design course, students learned about the exciting history of graphic design through hands-on learning and techniques including calligraphy, bookmaking, and cutting-edge computer technology. The instructor, Haley Wesley, creative services director and senior designer in PUC’s office of public relations, was inspired by her students’ work. “They were challenged to communicate visually like great graphic designers before them,” Wesley explained. “This challenge was met with enthusiasm and hard work. The result was amazing books and posters expressing high levels of creativity.”
The students who chose the Physics elective learned from National Science Foundation grant recipient and PUC Professor of Physics Vola Andrianarijaona. Topics included dynamics, electromagnetism, optics, and biophysics. “Physics was very interesting because of all the experiments,” shared Jonathan Watson, who will be a sophomore at Escondido Adventist Academy this fall. Watson, who has attended PacificQuest for three years, hopes to study music and science in college.
Just as the college experience is limited to the classroom, the PacificQuest program included co-curricular opportunities. Morning worships from the boys’ and girls’ counselors and from PUC Church Lead Pastor Mark Witas started each day, and before lunch the students had recreation time with PUC student Kim Clarke. Finally, each evening featured a fun event: cultural presentations from each student, time at the college’s on-campus observatory, a service-learning seminar, a quiz bowl, the always popular talent show, and the Thursday night luau and pool party.
Sydney Johnston, the tutoring coordinator at the college’s Teaching and Learning Center (TLC), served as the Camp Director during PacificQuest and coordinated the evening activities. “The talent show Wednesday was a smash hit!” Johnston enthused. All the kids participate, and the show included skits, poetry, piano solos, a harp solo, stand-up comedy, lip-syncing, song and dance, guitar and ukulele music, and some outstanding vocal solos.”
PacificQuest 2014 student David Porco, an incoming freshman at Pine Hills Adventist Academy in Auburn, Calif., participated in the program for the second year. His favorite part was spending time with his peers: “It was like a family atmosphere, and it was fun to hang out with each other.”