Summer Pals and Summer Quest

Drury University > The Center for Gifted Education > Summer Pals and Summer Quest

Drury University is happy to offer a summer experience for gifted students. Courses are taught by highly qualified, effective teachers who understand and use both enrichment and acceleration.  Courses are hands-on, activity oriented, and highly motivating.

The goals of Summer Quest/Summer Pals are:

  1. To provide opportunities for students to interact with peers of similar academic abilities and interests.
  2. To encourage students to use their intellectual and creative abilities in new and exciting ways.
  3. To allow students to pursue areas of interest they would not have a chance to study elsewhere.

Director, Center for Gifted Education – Mary Potthoff
Resident Psychologist – Brandi Klepper, Psy.D.
Program Coordinator Ariele Lee

Dates are June 17 – 28, 2024  8:30 am – 11:30 am.
Cost is $195
Location: TBD

He has absolutely loved camp this year! On day one, he said it was an awesome day and the best camp ever. We’re grateful for all the time your staff and you invest in the kids and this great opportunity.  -Parent of Summer Quest Student, 2021

How to Apply

  1. Locate and complete the application form for the proper grade level. Register by the grade you are in now. For example, at the end of the school year, if you are in 4th grade, please register for a 4th grade class.
  2. Complete qualification portion on application.
  3. Have the child select the courses he/she desires. Be sure to rank all choices desired. Put a 0 by classes not desired.
  4. Attach tuition check or money order for $195 to application form. Checks should be made payable to SUMMER QUEST or SUMMER PALS. Or you may pay online. Cost Schedule is $195 now – May 1; $210 May 2-31; $225 June 1-10.
  5. Mail application, tuition (or scholarship information) and certification to:

    Summer Quest OR Summer Pals
    Drury University
    900 N. Benton, Lay Hall 103
    Springfield, MO 65802
    (417) 873-7386

    There is no deadline for registration UNLESS you are applying for a financial need scholarship (see Scholarships for that information). Classes just fill up so apply early.

Tuition & Online Payment

The cost for each Summer Pals/Quest class is $195 if enrolled by May 1. Classes with additional fees for materials or field trips are noted on the course selection form. This additional fee will be collected when the student is notified of placement in the class. Total class cost (or scholarship application) must accompany application.

There is a withdrawal fee of $50. Refunds must be requested in writing. No refunds within two weeks of start of camp. 

Pay Tuition Here

Summer Pals & Quest Classes

Kindergarten & Pre-Kindergarten Courses

One week in each class for K & PK.

Earth’s Tiny Helpers

Picture yourself enjoying a delicious picnic lunch with your friends on a warm summer day. All of a sudden, a bee starts buzzing around your ear, a tiny ant is crawling toward your sandwich, and a butterfly is dancing above the beautiful flowers around you. The closer you look, the more creepy crawlers you see! Have you ever wondered how these tiny little beings exist? What do they eat? Where do they live? Did you know that even though they are tiny, they make a HUGE impact on the world we live in? Fly on in and discover the wonderful world of insects and arachnids where we will observe life cycles, discuss where and how they survive, and learn how they are some of the Earth’s tiniest of helpers!
Instructor: Chelsea Tepe, David Harrison Elementary, Springfield

Castles & Dragons

Castles look magical and majestic. They are the setting for stories about knights and dragons. Do you think you have what it takes to defeat a fire-breathing dragon? Do all dragons breathe fire? Let’s spend a week exploring castles, learning the knightly ways, and examining legends of fantastic beasts.
Instructor:  Nina Verbanaz, Central Scholars Program

Grade 1 Course


Come learn how you are different, but alike.  Explore your five senses and discover how your brain controls all of your body functions.  We will study the heart, lungs and digestive system.  We will discover how our fingerprints are unique and only yours.  There will be lots of experiments and projects.  Learn how to keep your body healthy.  Have fun learning first aid, CPR, and learn the importance of healthy bones and strong teeth.
Instructor: Dr. Tara Herring, Missouri State University

Grade 2 Course

Toy Box Physics

What does Force & Motion have to do with toys?  Join us as we investigate what’s really hiding in a toy box!  During the first week, we’ll learn about Sir Issac Newton and his discoveries of Force & Motion. We’ll put his theories to the test through experiments using toys.  We’ll ask questions about toys that work using vibration, rotary motion, straight line motion, and curved line motion. We’ll set up a matchbox track course in the classroom. We’ll create hills, ramps and turns in the ramp. Then we’ll experiment with force as we roll toy cars of various masses down the ramp. You will also learn how magnetism and electricity work within toys. We’ll use robots and Osmo games to inspire creativity, critical thinking and collaboration skills. ($10 fee)
Instructor:  Susan Trotter, David Harrison Elementary, Springfield

Grade 3 Course

Gotta Snap ’em All

How does photography convey meaning? How is an image’s content and meaning related? As you learn the ends and outs of how to take a great digital photograph, you’ll work on creating your unique style and point of view. Then you’ll learn about the different types of poetry and how photography connects to those poems. Throughout our two weeks together, you’ll work with like-minded peers to inspire creativity, and use critical thinking and collaboration skills.
Instructor:  Amanda Trotter, Rountree Elementary

Maker Movement

The Maker Movement is a sort of technology-based Do-It-Yourself culture.  In this class we will be building with a variety of materials including 3D printing, sewing, paper projects, Legos, origami, and a few small electronics.  Projects you can plan on include designing your own stuffed animal, pop up cards, making a doodlebot, creating a miniature painting, making candles and soap, and Zentangling.  You will also have some choice time for independent projects. We’ll be doing a lot of creating and building! ($10 fee)
Instructor: Elicia Ligon, Phelps Center for Gifted Education – WINGS, Springfield

Grade 4 Course

Discovering the Art of Mathematics

Are you an explorer, and are you ready to explore math through the lens of creativity and art? We will journey and investigate our way through several math topics while creating beautiful art! Math is not just helpful, it is also beautiful. As the English mathematician and philosopher Betrand Russell stated, “Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty…” Join us to explore, discover, and create some of this beauty together!
Instructor: Audra Uzzell, Phelps Gifted Education – Scholars, Springfield

Grade 5 Course

Quest Robotics

Quest Robotics is a lab-based course that uses a hands-on approach to introduce the basic concepts of robotics, focusing on programming of autonomous mobile robots. You will be using a variety of platforms such as VEX Robotics Design Systems, NAO humanoid robots, and the Go1 robot dog. You will be divided into groups and complete a variety of robot programming activities within the confines of these groups. Who can make the best robot?
Instructor: Betsy Cannella, Kickapoo High School, Springfield



A limited number of financial need scholarships are available. If you would like to be considered for a scholarship, you must enclose the following:

  1. A letter explaining any extenuating circumstances pertinent to existing financial status, including what efforts have been made to obtain money locally;
  2. A $10 registration fee (refundable if no scholarship is awarded) is required to insure that registration for classes can be completed; AND
  3. A letter from the student outlining why he/she wants to attend the program.
  4. Email all materials to Mary Potthoff at

Scholarships are awarded solely on the basis of financial need. We encourage parents to contact local businesses, employers, schools, and civic organizations to help fund scholarships. Applications for scholarships must be received BEFORE April 15. All information is required. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Please Note:

  • Your application will not be considered for enrollment until the office has received your tuition check, money order, or scholarship application. APPLY EARLY! Many courses fill quickly.
  • Checks or money orders will not be cashed until the student has been accepted.
  • If your child has a specific physical or medical need or condition, please attach a separate letter to the director so that needed accommodations can be made.
  • If a student is operating with an IEP, a copy of the IEP should be attached.

Summer Quest/Summer Pals Staff

Mary Potthoff – Director, Center for Gifted Education
Brandi Klepper, Psy.D. – Resident Psychologist 

Additional Information for Summer Opportunity

The Stalnaker Boys & Girls Club would be a great place for your child to spend the rest of the day after attending Summer Pals or Summer Quest. Why the Boys & Girls Club? It is located at 1410 North Fremont and it is a safe place to learn and grow- all while having fun. It is the place where great futures are started each and every day. Hours are M-F, 7:30-5:30 during the summer. Cost is approximately $35 per child, per week, approximately $40 for 2 children in a family and approximately $45 for a family of 3 or more children per week.

If you are applying for and receive a financial need scholarship through Quest/Pals, your cost for Boys & Girls Club is also included. You need to let Mary Potthoff know if you want to add this option.

The facility includes a games room, technology center, art room, music room, dance/fitness room, gymnasium, learning center, and lunch room. It is also adjacent to a city park and we offer daily opportunities for low cost field trips. Meals are free. We offer breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack. You can check out our facilities online at

Additional questions or concerns about Boys & Girls Club, contact: Cindy Dodson at 862-9249 ext. 104. Please let Mary Potthoff know if you are interested in extending your day with Quest or Pals with Boys and Girls Club at