Interim Quest options revealed


The Pioneer Plunge IQ option for Juniors demonstrates the benefits of hands on learning.

Jackson Nealis, Associate Editor

Yesterday during lunch, Upper School students in grades 9-11 were introduced to this year’s Interim Quest or IQ options. Today, we’re going to dive into which programs are being offered, when they’re happening and why this year’s IQ options are an exciting way to return to a Saint Stephen’s tradition.

IQ has been a tradition at Saint Stephen’s since 1987. In the Upper School, it’s a weeklong program to take students out of the classrooms and participate in what the Saint Stephen’s website describes as “experiential learning sparks critical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making skills.” Usually, this takes the form of students learning new skills like SCUBA diving or lifeguarding, traveling to learn about different cultures or exploring community service opportunities. These programs will take place the week after final exams, so Monday May 23, to Friday May 28th.

Some have argued that IQ is a ‘joke’ week for students to slack off as school comes to a close, but the administration maintains that a student who participates in IQ is “more likely to take ownership” of their learning. English teacher Mr. Johnson certainly agrees, noting, “it establishes community between students and faculty that a classroom can’t provide and puts into practice the idea that experience is education.”

So let’s take a closer look at the IQ options for this year.

During IQ week, all freshmen will be journeying to St. Augustine to experience the unique history and culture of America’s oldest city. Included in the price of the trip are all accommodations, food and transportation. Students will not just be visiting museums or historical sites, but also experiencing St. Augustine through a boat cruise and a ghost tour.

The Sophomores will have the opportunity to visit Camp Sparta in Sebring. With an emphasis on team building and character development, Students will be able to step back from the hustle and bustle of their daily lives and enjoy a fulfilling and enjoyable trip with their friends.

The Juniors have several options for their IQ experience. They have the opportunity to work in their communities, either as an extern working at a business or nonprofit or through community service with several local organizations including Team Success and Habitat for Humanity. Students could also embrace the study of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics by participating in the STEAM IQ which will combine the study of all of these subjects at local colleges with related community service projects.

But for students who want to travel outside the community, a limited number of Juniors can choose to join Mr. Johnson and Rev. Cori on a journey to Pioneer Plunge in North Carolina to learn to live off the land and build strong interpersonal bonds in an isolated setting. Juniors also can choose to travel with Ms. Bolotin and Mr Revard to Wyoming and experience Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Both trips have costs associated with them, so juniors should consult with their families.

Additional information about these trips can be found on SSESonline under the groups tab and on the Upper School page. Juniors should also complete the Interest Survey for their choices by going to the news tab on SSESonline. The offerings for this year’s IQ experiences make this year’s Interim Quest something to look forward too.