Juniors in Quest

Perhaps you’ve noticed the absence of juniors in your nonelective courses, or maybe you’ve walked past the futuristic looking glass room, labeled “Quest,” on the third floor. Just last year it was announced that the Quest program would be open to all upperclassmen, and a great population of the junior class is not missing out on the highly independent, adventurous year-long course offered at Singapore American School.

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Katie Walthall (right) working with students in the 2016-2017 Quest school year.

So what is Quest?

“Quest lets students successfully navigate the nuances of real-life, and prepares students for the world they’re about to go into.” – Katie Walthall

Katie Walthall, a main coordinator on the Quest team, describes Quest as a rigorous program that allows students to “successfully navigate the nuances of real-life, and prepares students for the world they’re about to go into [after high school].” To her, Quest is beneficial to any driven student who wants experience with problem-solving and networking in real-world situations. It’s a year-long program that follows an organized, yet flexible schedule, allowing students to advocate for themselves and manage their time in order to complete multiple projects throughout the year. Everything you learn in Quest can be applied to real-world situations, and the skills developed in this program continue to be necessary long after high school, and even university.

“I want colleges to see my whole year’s worth of work for Quest, not just the half of senior year.” – Sophia Horn

Many juniors are taking up this course for one main reason: college.

Sophia Horn, a student in Quest, says that the main reason she decided to take Quest in junior year was that she wanted “college to see my project’s end result and my whole year’s worth of work.” For seniors enrolled in the Quest program, only half of their project will be available to colleges during the application project. Horn emphasizes the importance of universities being able to see the outcome and completed project of an entire year’s worth of work.

When asked about the workload, Talia Turpaz (11 grade) replies with “the amount of work you have is however much you want to do.” She clarifies that being in Quest does not mean that you can slack off with school work, in fact, it’s just the opposite. However, there is a great amount of independence in managing personal work. “For me, I really care about my project, and I want to do work,” says Turpaz. Of course, there are work requirements put in place by the Quest teachers, and there certainly are consequences, such as being grounded to the Quest room, when students do not meet said deadlines.

“It takes over a lot of my time, but it’s what I love doing.” – Sophia Horn

Sophia Horn says that her work is “extremely rigorous,” especially because she is balancing deadlines for both an internship outside of school and for Quest itself. But to Sophia, the effort she puts into the program is worth it. “It takes over a lot of my time, but it’s what I love doing, so I don’t mind it. Obviously, the work is quite stressful, but I know that it’s beneficial for what I want to do in college and my life after that.”

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Talia Turpaz (left) and Sophia Horn (right), both juniors in Quest, with a project manager at the All That Matters conference.

“it was really exciting to be apart of the real, working world, as a student.”

The students have already been on multiple adventures in order to develop a variety of vital skills. Other than the famous Quest Mongolia trip, just recently the students went to the “All That Matters” event in Singapore, which was an exclusive conference involving top networking parties from all around the world. Some students practiced their networking abilities for the first time in their lives. Sophia Horn reflects on her experience saying, “it was really exciting to be apart of the real, working world, as a student.”

Many of the Quest students already have a goal in mind. Turpaz is working towards an internship with an architecture firm, and Horn is already planning out logistics for her ski-apparel brand. This is why, to Katie Walthall, “students who have initiative and are self-motivated” will fare better in the program, but Quest “takes on all students, and we work with students who need development.”

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The Quest class of 2018 all at the All That Matters conference. Image is taken from the Quest Instagram page.

So overall, the Quest program is beneficial for all students. it’ll help prepare you for the real world, strengthen students’ critical thinking skills, and allow students (whether juniors or seniors) to work on independent projects, which they can carry on after high school. If the program sounds interesting to you, there’s a lot to consider. Clearly, there are benefits for taking the program both in 11th or 12th grade.

Author: Anjali Swarstad

Anjali Swarstad is currently a junior and working, for her second year, on The Eye. In her free time, Anjali enjoys making films, graphic design, and sharing goofs n' gaffs with her friends. She's excited to produce more videos this year, and can be contacted at swarstad30323@sas.edu.sg.

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