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: The Summit, 202 E. Walnut Lawn

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; $215 May 2-31; $230 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. Send in (by mail or email) the completed application to finalize registration.

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.

Oh, The Places You Can Go!

Did you know there’s a chef whose job is to make nutritious and delicious meals for the animals at the zoo? How about that some chemists work to create new flavors for Jelly Belly? Can you imagine going to school in Australia and having a “hat policy” dress code to protect you from the sun? Or having sushi as your school lunch in Japan? In Oh, the Places You Can Go Summer Pals, your curiosity and imagination will ignite as you explore the world and a wide range of careers. Through hands-on activities, storytelling, and creative play, you will have the opportunity to learn about geography, traditions, and foods around the world along with various professions, from astronauts to zoo keepers, and everything in between. You will compare how you are similar to and different from the students and teacher in your class and learn to appreciate the similarities and differences. There will be fun activities like body tracing, hands and feet tracing, music and dance. You will also examine your own strengths and interests to identify your future career aspirations. The future is bright and exciting for our Summer Pals as we explore the places we may go!
Instructors:  Nina Verbanaz & Abbey Swearengin

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 ($15 lab fee)

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. ($15 lab 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, Ag Academy SPS Choice Program

Maker Movement ($15 lab fee)

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! ($15 lab fee)
Instructor: Elicia Ligon, Phelps Center for Gifted Education – WINGS, Springfield

Grade 4 Course

Discovering the Art of Mathematics ($15 lab fee)

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! ($15 lab fee)
Instructor: Audra Uzzell, Phelps Gifted Education – Scholars, Springfield

Grade 5 Course

Quest Robotics

STEM Games Camp ($15 lab fee)

Put your building and gaming skills to the test during this week of building hands-on, real-world games. Video games are fun and game engines are used to simulate physics, but can you make a game that uses real physics? Can you use actual gravity and magnetism for exciting game dynamics? Can you stump your friends with marble mazes? How can catapults be used to make a game? We will explore the physics and fun of games as we design and make a variety of games during this week of fun.
Instructor:  Rob Powers, The Summit Preparatory 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. Photocopies of the first two pages of the parents’ or guardians’ most recent federal income tax return AND any attachments of schedules if applicable;
  2. A letter explaining any extenuating circumstances pertinent to existing financial status, including what efforts have been made to obtain money locally;
  3. A $30registration fee (refundable if no scholarship is awarded) is required to ensure that registration for classes can be completed; AND
  4. A letter from the student outlining why he/she wants to attend the program.
  5. 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 information and deposit. No exceptions will be made.
  • 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