Challenge to Excellence

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Challenge to Excellence
Challenge to Excellence

June 9-14, 2019 Challenge to Excellence I (6th-8th grades)

June 16-21, 2019 Challenge to Excellence II (9th-11th grades)

Now in its 36th year, Challenge to Excellence is one of the most respected and long-standing summer residential programs for academically-talented students in the Midwest. The program’s major goal is to provide students with opportunities to “stretch themselves” in classes that promote higher level thinking skills and creativity in a variety of academic subjects, such as math, art, psychology, journalism, biology and many others. Camp staff are creative teachers and counselors who are dedicated to providing safe, fun learning experiences for campers.

Challenge to Excellence Flyer

Many of our former campers have matriculated at our finest universities and are now teachers, doctors, engineers, journalists, computer scientists and pharmacists. One of our former Challenge to Excellence students received a Pulitzer Prize for journalism. Read what some of our campers and parents have said about the Challenge to Excellence program:

Chloe Miller, Olney, stated, “Challenge to Excellence Camp was the best camp I ever went to! I didn't know anybody when I went last summer but now I can't wait to see the friends I made again this year! We had soooo much fun.”

 Chloe's Mom, Karen St. Pierre, says, “I was so happy that she was able to participate in something not only fun, but something that would help her grow educationally. She had the opportunity to learn about things she never would have gotten in school. She loved the psychology class!”

Admission Criteria and the Academic Program

The academic program consists of several courses designed to challenge the students in a variety of classes and experiences. All courses encourage students to use their creativity and problem-solving skills.  It is recommended that students score at the 90th percentile or above on the math, science and/or language arts sections of an achievement test. A teacher or guidance counselor’s signature is required on the application as a means of certifying that the student is qualified to attend the program. NOTE: Returning students do not have to provide test scores.

Evening Programs

Our staff believes that opportunities must also be provided for the students to interact with each other socially.  Evening programs are structured, supervised activities that include:

  • SIU Recreational Center
  • Bowling and billiards
  • Capture-the-flag game
  • Talent show
  • Play presented by the drama class
What's Included?
  • Meals from Sunday to Friday
  • Educational supplies and materials
  • Limited accident medical insurance
  • Camp T-shirt
  • Recreational activities
  • For residential campers, the fee also includes five nights lodging at air-conditioned SIU Carbondale residence halls (Sunday-Thursday)

 Program Dates:

  • June 9-14, 2019 Challenge to Excellence I (6th-8th grades)
  • June 16-21, 2019 Challenge to Excellence II (9th-11th grades)

Program Check-in: 3 p.m., Schneider Hall

Program Times: Varies each day according to classes scheduled

Program Location: SIU Carbondale Campus

Registration Deadlines: 

  • Challenge to Excellence I:  May 31, 2019
  • Challenge to Excellence II:  May 31, 2019

Registration Fees:

By May 24, 2019

  • Residential Campers:  $425
  • Commuter Campers:   $350

 After May 24, 2019

  • Residential Campers:  $435
  • Commuter Campers:   $360
Parents:  You also have the option of paying a $200 deposit when you register.  The balance is due by May 31, 2019 for Challenge I and June 7, 2019 for Challenge II.

Program Requirement: Camp Medical Release Form is required for camp participation and must be received in our office at least 3 business days prior to camp beginning.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellations before May 25, 2019 will be refunded, less $25. No refunds will be made after May 25, 2019.

Registration Options:

  • Register online for Challenge to Excellence Camp I (6th-8th grades) - CLOSED
  • Register online for Challenge to Excellence Camp II (9th-11th grades) - CLOSED
  • Register by phone with a VISA, Discover or Mastercard by calling Conference and Scheduling Services at 618/536-7751.
  • Fax Challenge to Excellence Registration Form with credit card information to Conference and Scheduling Services at 618/453-5680.
  • Please submit the reference form to Camp Director, Dr. Rose Moroz at