Revive school spirit through Minecraft

September 5, 2020 — by Tiffany Wang

On Instagram, the ASB and other leadership accounts have been promoting a new event: After Hours, a place where students can just hang out over Zoom and meet new people. Sadly, on the first day, only 13 people showed up.

Despite many attempts by the leadership team to connect students, events so far have garnered low levels of participation. A reason could be because there wasn’t enough promotion for these events, or students would rather have their own private Facetime calls with their friends instead of sitting awkwardly on Zoom with people they barely know.

Instead of video calls that fail to emulate real-life interactions, the school should try to connect students through online multiplayer games such as Minecraft, where students can display their school spirit by directly competing against other students or even other classes. Specifically, leadership should implement school-wide Minecraft competitions or challenges, perhaps on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.

Recently, Minecraft has seen a surge in popularity, after many people decided to redownload it during the pandemic. Many YouTubers and streamers also started playing it again, adding to the hype. 

With Minecraft, the possibilities are endless. For example, the leadership team could lead a group of students to recreate Saratoga High in Minecraft, something similar to the UC Berkeley server, which has been affectionately named Blockeley University. After the campus is built, people can log into Minecraft and explore the block-ified campus. 

Another way to boost school spirit would be to add minigames like build battles or PvP duels, which can be used to emulate rally games. Having rallies online will be pretty hard because it is almost impossible for students to interact with others and play games. However, in Minecraft, there can also be a scoring system that gives you points for every game you win, and it would count toward each grades’ total points. A big incentive for students to participate in school events is competition between classes because who wouldn’t want their class to be superior?

One challenge will be that many students might not have a Minecraft account, so they might not want to buy one just for school. Although it might be expensive and difficult to implement, the school could provide each student with an account that is linked to their school email. This can also make it easier to track the ranking between grades. In the short term, the leadership team should look at online video games that can be accessed for free, such as skribbl.io or Among Us.

Initially, it might take a while to build an actual Minecraft server, but the payoff of having a community of students playing together would definitely be worth it. Even if this will never happen, it’s nice to dream about it.

 

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Due to the lightning complex that occurred in the week of Aug.17, Santa Clara County is currently surrounded by wildfires, covering the city of Saratoga in heavy smoke. The air quality was in the range of 100 to 200 for the past five days, forcing SHS to close down. Photo by Selina Chen.

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