The HHS Gaming Academy: Greatest Hits

By: Elizabeth Klein

There’s a palpable sense of community in Mr. Delgado’s fourth period Scientific and Technical Visualization (Sci-Vis) class.  Students laugh over their computer screens as their teacher goes down the rows of desks, lightheartedly keeping them in check.  There’s a girl with a ukulele on one side of the room, plucking the notes to a familiar song while overlooking a complicated computer modeling system.  The room is dark, but the smiling faces seem to make it brighter.  The students in this class obviously seem to share a lot of memories together.

One student jokes with her classmates as she clicks away at a 3-D robot.  Her name is Hannah Little.  She’s a sophomore, like everyone else in this class.  She says her favorite memory is the Smash Brothers tournament.

“Some people didn’t know how to play, but it was just cool to be in the atmosphere of all the other gamers.  Me and Ashley–” she pauses to gesture toward the girl with the ukulele, “had no clue how to play, but everyone was really sweet, and they taught us how.  It was a lot of fun.  It was my first time seeing the rest of the Gaming Academy, and seeing the difference in the variety of people here who are in it.”

Ashley Conklin is seated across the room from Hannah.  She’s the only other girl in the class.  

“My favorite memory is probably just all of us being together…we would stay for Husky Help in our first Sci-Vis room and just play all together.  And we would laugh, and it was always really fun.”

Ashley turns to her left to talk to Jeremy Roberts.  He, too, was fond of the Smash Brothers tournament.

“We just got anyone from all the cohorts; they all came into this room.  We had a Wii set up.  We split off into teams, practiced for a bit, and then came to together and did a bracket-style tournament.  It was pretty fun, even though we lost.  It was just a fun thing to do, and I got to hang out with my friends.”

He talks about the project the class is working on now, building a Mech Robot in a 3-D modeling system.  He explains that although it’s an individual project, Gaming Academy students work together and collaborate.

“Everyone in the sophomore cohort knows each other pretty well, so we all get along very closely; we know each other, [and] we know how each other works, so it’s really easy to collaborate on things, because we know what everybody’s strengths and weaknesses, what they bring to the table.”

Ian Boyles feels the same way about the project.  

“When people are getting stuck–this is a really huge project we’re doing right now–and when some people are struggling, it’s really good to go help [them].  So, it’s team effort because we’ve all gotta get it done before a due date.”

There’s one memory in particular that stands out the most.  Doug O’Neil says his favorite memory was when “Jackson thought the Boston accent was a language.”

“It was the third day, and somebody somehow got rid of his Boston accent.  So Jackson asked him, ‘How did you learn English?’”

He laughs nostalgically as he remembers.  In fact, there’s no shortage of laughter in the room.  Ashley teasingly swats at a boy on her right as he moves to take her ukulele.  Ian hosts a lively conversation as he works on his project.  Mr. Delgado doubles as teacher and comedian.  This is no ordinary class.