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This year at QUEST campers focused on art and science centered on the theme “Myth versus Reality.” At QUEST, students work in their individual areas of interest and then come together in the evenings to connect the two subjects.

High school art and science students came to the Freed-Hardeman University campus June 17-22 for the second annual QUEST (Question, Understand, Explore, Solve, Think). This year’s activities focused on “Myth versus Reality.”

Students choosing the science QUEST became “myth busters,” challenging popular myths by applying the scientific method. They participated in an outdoor survival day, built and manipulated robots, explored myths about health and the human body, and looked at myths related to chemistry.

Art students looked into truth and reality in art. They constructed mythological creatures that make noise from clay, explored alternative darkroom processes, experienced the magic of Polaroid photography, and exhibited their work in the art gallery.

The groups came together in the evenings for joint activities. Highlights of the week included the QUEST Olympics on Sunday; making mythological creatures out of recycled materials, Monday; learning about story telling from Chara Watson, an adjunct professor at Oklahoma Christian University and a graduate of East Tennessee State University’s graduate program in storytelling, Tuesday; and the BanQUEST and awards ceremony followed by cock roach racing and carnival games in the Commons, Thursday.

Algene Steele directed the art out of recycled materials project. He was pleased with students’ creativity and cooperation. “They were able to merge their groups' ideas into a single creature and then to make those creatures out of objects and materials that had no resemblance to their vision,” he said. “Pretty incredible when you think about the connections they made with what they wanted to create and what they had to create it with. Who knew that an old paintbrush could become a silvery unicorn's horn with the addition of string or that the housing of a computer monitor was the perfect shape for a dragon's head or that legs and bodies could be fashioned out of old tubing and chicken wire. They did a fantastic job of working together and creating uniques pieces of art that showed their personal flare and style.”

QUESTer Abby Tatum particularly enjoyed the small size of the camp, saying, “It made everything more personal with the teachers and the other kids. I loved being around kids who were my age and were interested in the same things as me.” In addition, she may have found a future college major and career. “I really enjoyed the turtle tagging with Dr. Butterfield,” she said. “In fact, he made it so interesting, I think I would like to do that when I grow up.”

Caleb Cook who returned to QUEST for his and its second year agrees with Tatum that the size of the camp leads to close knit relationships. He considers that a plus, but there’s something better. “The most appealing part of QUEST,” he said, “is getting one-on-one time with college professors in your field of interest.”

QUEST began last year as an interdisciplinary academic camp for students in grades 9-11. For additional information, go to or email

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