With the sudden rise in popularity of the online game Among Us, many students have begun to play the game. This combined with the newly formed Junior High Game Night at WHHS put into motion the idea of having a tournament for younger students to participate in and connect with their peers.
The tournament was set up so that participants would arrive at their designated time and join a game moderated by student council members. Each designated time was put aside for different levels of Among Us mastery. When signing up for the tournament, each individual would decide whether they fell under never played before, beginner, intermediate or expert.
The event was spearheaded by Caroline Lovelace, ‘26, a member of student council and Samantha Stephenson, the advisor for the junior high student council. Over 150 kids signed up for the tournament which meant that the organizers had to put over 150 names and their in-game names into a spreadsheet.
“The scheduling did take a fair amount of time, especially since I know pretty much nothing…about Google Sheets,” Lovelace, ‘25, said, “I am very uneducated in that sector. So, instead of… just clicking the button that transported all the entries to a Google Sheet, I manually entered all of them. And that was a lot of unnecessary work that I did anyway. So it wasn’t necessarily hard, but it was time consuming and I didn’t even have to do it.”
Long before the planning and scheduling however, came the idea.
“At the executive board meeting which is like all the student councils for every grade at Walnut, they decided that we should work on more seventh grade outreach…We were trying just to get everyone connected to make it seem more like a school community,” Lovelace said.
In the meeting following the executive board meeting the junior high council decided to do a monthly game night. The first event was a Kahoot in December and after that the council began brainstorming for the next event. One idea that came up was the tournament. The council sent out a survey to seventh and eight graders who voted on what event they wanted and then began the actual planning.
The original plan was to create an organized tournament with winners of each game that would eventually lead to overall winners of the tournament. After over 150 students signed up for the tournament, however, that became too much to handle for the small team working on the event.
“So the tournament flew out the window, and basically…we had all the students fill out a form with the date and time that they would want to play and then we did four rounds for four days so instead of doing a tiered tournament…we’re just doing different rounds each day…so that all the kids can log in and hang out and they can play and they can talk,” Stephenson said.
Although the set up for the tournament changed and there was no winner, those who organized the event are still happy with how it turned out.
“If we could have had a winner I mean that would have been cool, but in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t really about having winners and losers. It was about having all the students come together and just do something fun, and meet kids and just have fun,” Stephenson said.
Stephenson’s hope that the participants would enjoy the tournament seems to have been met. Most students enjoyed the tournament and the opportunity it gave them to have fun with their friends and classmates.
“Definitely [I got the experience I was looking for]. It was a lot of fun,” Michael Scruggs, ‘25, said.
As well as having a positive impact on the students who joined the tournament it seems that the tournament has also had a positive effect on those who organized it.
“It really helped me realize that [Student Council] is something that I like doing and that I want to do,” Lovelace said, “At my old school, I went to Hyde Park Elementary School previously, and I was on the student council since the third grade and obviously in the third grade you don’t get to do a lot of stuff at this level, but it was a lot of fun, and I was in that up until the sixth grade and I enjoyed it…It’s a different experience, but I really do like it and I think it’s something that I want to continue with in the future and I think this has helped me realize that.”
Overall, the event seems to have been a resounding success with many people excited about the next events in store.
“Ms. Stephenson is a great teacher, and you should definitely go to her class.. and all the events she holds, because they are a lot of fun,” Scruggs said.
While the tournament took much time to organize and execute it seems that both the organizers and the participants were happy with the outcome. Ultimately the event seems to have had a positive impact on many of the people involved leaving them with hope for what is to come next.