CN quest heroQuest Night 2017 kicked off at noon on April 6th, as students from the Nueva Middle School streamed onto the Upper School campus, chatting excitedly, ready to see what Upper Schoolers had created and accomplished.



Upper School students from grades 9-11 had set up displays in every classroom and corner. 11th graders played hand-animated videos in a conference room at the end of a hallway while 5th graders tested out the biomechanics of the baseball swing at 9th grader Jason Hwong’s batting cage outside the Innovation Lab. A set of 10th graders ran an “Escape the Room” filled with puzzles and riddles while, in the room next door, another group of students showed the different programming methods they had used to solve games from tic-tac-toe to complicated card games.

“When I come here, my Quest is going to be building a ballerina robot,” a middle school student was overheard explaining to another.

Nueva Upper School’s Quest program is unique, a chance for students to explore their passions not after they graduate, nor even just their senior year, but every year. Starting in 9th grade, students choose a passion project, sometimes continuing projects for years on end, designing and carrying out their own plans for the project, from basket weaving to novel writing to building electric vehicles.

By the evening, Quest Night 2017 was in full swing. Parents, friends, siblings, and mentors came in droves. 10th grader Arun Johnson’s table held an impressive display of cosmic ray detectors and a pressure chamber, showcasing his experiment to try to replicate the synthesis of ultra-dense deuterium. Parents were seen interviewing Nathalie Gee, 11th grader, about her experience volunteering as a National Park Ranger in Muir Woods. 9th grader Morgan Tarpenning’s table was particularly popular, as people admired her hand-made chocolate bars, while others admired Katya Pancheko’s gorgeous LED-studded dress, fitted with an accelerometer to detect movement and change lighting accordingly.

Quest Night was an overwhelming showcase of Nueva values and student efforts, full of ingenuity and passion. As one 11th grade parent said: “asking students to really dig into doing what they love is the best way to help them grow into doers and leaders.”

To see more inspiring examples of students’ passion projects, read more about the eighth graders’ Recital Night.



April 21, 2017



6565 Skyline Blvd.
Hillsborough, CA 94010





131 E. 28th Ave.
San Mateo, CA 94403



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