• 57°

Quest program encourages creativity among the gifted

Cuisenaire rods, tessellations and spatial perception may sound like Greek to most people, but it’s everyday lingo for a special group of students at Lipsey Middle School.

Gwen Case’s sixth-grade Quest students displayed their intellect and creativity Wednesday for parents, grandparents and staff members.

While viewing some of the artwork, puzzles and creative writing from the first nine weeks, Felicia Keys said the Quest program has taught her daughter, Destiny, to “think outside the box.”

The Quest program offers gifted students unique opportunities to enhance and enrich their creativity by participating in gifted classes once a week.

“Advanced kids tend to get bored easily, but it keeps them challenged,” said Lauren Bynum, whose daughter, Makayla Hall, has been in the program for two years.

Students are challenged weekly in individual and group projects, including brain boosters, IQ games and mosaics.

“We have to use our brain and be creative. There aren’t any instructions,” said student Chloe Warren about their Marble Tracks construction project.

Quest students miss a full day of regularly scheduled classes each week in order to participate in the program, but their absence does not seem to affect their schoolwork, said Case, who has been teaching Quest students for over 34 years.

Case noted Quest teaches students responsibility because they are required to keep up with all regular classroom assignments. She said students don’t complain about the added work, as their brains constantly seek stimulation for growth.

“We want them to quest for knowledge,” said Case.

The gifted students look forward to their weekly sessions of brain boosting, where they can mix with like-minded peers and not feel out of place.

“This program allows them to be themselves,” said Kayla Freeman, mother of student Nick Freeman. “Sometimes, creative kids tend to hide their creativity from others, but the Quest program embraces students’ creativity.”

Twenty-two sixth graders and 22 fifth graders are involved in the Quest program at Lipsey.

Parents attending the display event were amazed by their children’s work.

Alica Warren has noticed a big difference in her daughter, Chloe, since her involvement in Quest.

“She’s really blossomed this year. She’s finding a lot of inner creativity she didn’t know she had,” said Warren.

Students spent the first nine weeks on numerous projects that included an in-depth study of the Polynesian islands and essays about composer Johann Sebastian.

Many of the students agree they love the tougher activities that push them to their limits.

“They’re kind of hard and they challenge you,” said Morgan Moak, daughter of Pete and Dienna Moak.

Students are accepted into the Quest program based on IQ tests and a lengthy referral process.

“Our gifted program across the district is phenomenal,” said Brandy Myers, director of special services in the Brookhaven School District. “We are very fortunate to have such amazing staff to meet the unique needs of our gifted students.”