Campus & Community

Summer Quest participants learn it pays to get ahead

Palm Beach State College celebrated the participants of its growing Summer Quest program during an awards ceremony open to their families.

Dr. Peter Barbatis, second from left, Sharon Simmons, right, and Chuck Zettler, second from right, congratulate winners of the continuing scholarship. Twenty of the 167 Summer Quest participants won an additional $2,000 scholarship to continue their studies at PBSC.

The annual program, which gives new high school students a college jump-start, attracted 167 participants with a $500 scholarship to cover the cost of the Introduction to the College Experience course and textbook. PBSC requires the course for first-time-in-college students.

During the ceremony on the Lake Worth campus Thursday, PBSC staff presented a certificate to each of the participants and announced the 20 winners of an additional $2,000 scholarship ($500 per semester for four semesters, excluding summers) to continue their studies at PBSC.

“We wanted to acknowledge students who are participating, as well as engage the parents,’’ said Sharon Simmons, outreach program specialist who coordinates Summer Quest. “In terms of making those final decisions regarding college, family support is important,” she added.

The program attracted 67 more students than last summer, and participants say they are thankful for the opportunity.

“I feel really good that I’m getting sponsored to go to school. It’s encouraging,’’ said Amy Bien-Aime, a Palm Beach Gardens High School graduate and aspiring lawyer who won one of the continuing scholarships.

Bien-Aime, who plans to get an Associate in Arts degree at PBSC and transfer to a university to pursue a bachelor’s degree in political science, said PBSC is the only school she considered. “I knew that I wanted to come here just to save some money for myself and my parents. I was already a dual enrollment student, so I was familiar with the College.”
Maria Castella, a Santaluces High School graduate and a first-generation college student, said participating in the Summer Quest program has helped prepare her for her college journey. She also won a continuing scholarship.

“I feel like it’s a good achievement and a good opportunity since I’ve come up in a home where I don’t really have a mentor or guidance. I knew I was going to be coming here because I really can’t leave home because of family situations,’’ said the aspiring doctor who will pursue an Associate in Arts degree at PBSC and then transfer to a university.

Summer Quest partnered with the creators of Math Jump, an intensive five-day refresher math program piloted this summer to prepare students for success in Intermediate Algebra and other math courses. The program, taught by math professor Alex Opritsa, ended Friday. Most of the 18 Math Jump participants were a part of the Summer Quest program, including Castella.

“It’s been great, especially coming in with the fear of math that I’ve had,’’ she said. “With math, you don’t think of something fun,’’ she said, noting that the program delivery made the course exciting.

For more information about Summer Quest, visit


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Share Button

Sign up for email notices

Have a story idea?

Submit Your News

Search / Archives

Panther Instagram Gallery