Gaming club levels up



After school each Friday, the peaceful library, is taken over by more than 80 excited gamers ready to battle it out through digital warfare. From 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. the once quiet space is filled with waves upon waves of pandemonic students, prepared to let out the stress of high school through skilled button mashing.
Gaming Club is the biggest club on campus with an average of 80 members per meeting looking to meet with other students for both fun and competitive play.
“It was meant to be a fun place to connect with other students but now we like to call Gaming Club a community or maybe even a family,” said Gaming Club President Ashlend Laparra.
“It’s really amazing to see groups of people come together to have fun and enjoy one another’s company.”
The club meets after lunch every Friday and has a one time membership fee of $10, which go towards prizes and food. The club also offers a Premium Membership for $15 and includes parties every month with free food, free entry to all tournaments, a lanyard with the member’s name on it, and first in line for food and entry to gaming club each week.
President Laparra, said the club started as a Dungeons and Dragons meet up and slowly progressed with the addition of card games, then later in the years, video games.
Although the club was started by Vincent Hägen, Laparra took over the group in December 2014. She says that the club was in a rough state when handed down to her, but hoped the many plans she had in mind would bring the club to life.
Under Laparra’s leadership and the changes made, the club was on its way to becoming the most popular on campus.
Soon after Mrs. Julia Clark, former librarian and Gaming Club’s 2013-2014 Advisor, retired and Mrs. Darcy Bechtel took charge, the club continued to grow for the better.
“Although I’m not a gamer I can see these games cut across all boundaries,” said Bechtel, “ Racial, economic, and social, these games are all immune.”
With only four officers Laparra found herself staying after school for three hours everyday just to prepare for one day of club. Taking inventory, printing sign-in sheets, printing check-out sheets, restocking noodles, filling the water canisters, reorganizing all the consoles within each box, and balancing tons of school work became too much. With the club outgrowing its old setup, Laparra created two more positions, Historian (Angelina Daniels), and Sergeant at Arms (SAA) (Dadreon Presley), to help spread the workload evenly and provide even better service to members.
In the midst of reorganization Gaming Club’s tournament system was not left behind. Their new system closely resembles that of an official gaming tournament including real bracket organization, disqualification for late competitors, and the use of real tournament rules for each specific game. This new system allows gamers to prepare for higher ranking competitions in gaming conventions.
Many members said that Gaming Club has prepared them to compete in official tournaments such as Level-Up Expo in May. The club even gives real prizes to first, second, and third place winners. First place receives a $50 Amazon gift card, second place receives a $30 dollar Amazon gift card, and third place receives a $10 dollar Amazon gift card.
“In the beginning of my freshmen year there were barely any tournaments,” said Gaming Club member Allison Wu. “Gaming Club was like a club of seniors that played in a room, but with each year that goes on the club became bigger and bigger. More people have joined which means bigger tournaments. I love those crazy exciting tournaments where I’m surround by amazing supportive friends. I love being in a big happy club.”
With a tight nit community, members have gone as far to name the club their “Safe Haven” from the stress of high school popularity listings. This may be because one is greeted upon entering this cheerful atmosphere of students who are thrilled to be there. Members have said that they have gone through the transformation of being negative and timid to being positive and bold because they found friendship and support within each other.
“I like the people around me. They make me feel more supported than ever,” said Gaming Club member Marcellino Cruz.
Once the student body saw the changes taking place within the club, word began to spread that Gaming Club was a perfect place to come and have fun after school. The club really began to thrive when it started offering more consoles such as Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, Genesis as well as board games and card games. They also offer Super Smash Brothers 4, Donkey Kong, Mario Kart 8, Mario 3D World, Playstation All-stars , Persona 4, NBA 2K16, Halo, Halo 2, Halo 2 platinum hits, and many more.
With noodle sales during lunch taking off the club had more money to buy more consoles and video games. They also had money to have more elaborate parties and gaming tournaments. With gaming on the rise and the club improving its old and outdated methods, the club’s attendance rate began to grow.
“Gaming Club offers many games that allows everyone to express themselves in ways they can’t anywhere else,” said Daniels.