By Maija Shea
Mental wellness and happiness in the school environment are what Milton District strives for. Students are encouraged to express their learning in ways that suit them, and also to get involved with teams and clubs that serve as a way to have fun at school. The Gaming Club started at MDHS last school year after some student gamers pitched the idea to the staff, and finally, the club came to life. Running the club for the second year in a row now are senior students Juan Alarcon, Travis Mont, and Alex Adams, and teachers Mr.Arseneau and Ms.Chaudhary.
Why Join the Gaming Club?
Unlike a majority of the clubs and teams running in the school, the gaming club is a drop-in style environment constructed by gamers, for gamers. There is no obligation to stay for the whole after-school session or even to attend every week. The club is designed to be an enjoyable experience with likeminded people without a commitment.
Bringing your own games is encouraged, however, you can settle it in Smash with Super Smash Bros. Melee or Wii U version each week. Games for Nintendo Wii, Wii U, GameCube, Switch, and Xbox One are available, but bringing other consoles to add to the setup is more than welcome. Six TVs (four of which are flat-screen) are set up to ensure that everybody gets a turn playing their favourite games with their friends.
Tournaments in a variety of styles are held almost every week for anyone who wishes to participate. Those who wish to just have a less competitive game with their friends are still free to do so at one of the other setups. Gamers of any skill level can attend this club. There is also the fight that puts skills to the test; conquering the legendary Mr.Arseneau in Smash. Do you have what it takes?
A bonus to keep up with the Mustang gaming community is the gaming club’s student-run Discord server. Get updates about the club and your daily dose of gaming memes here.
How Do I Join?
Easy! Just show up and introduce yourself this Tuesday or Thursday after school. Meetings usually run until 4:45, but come for the amount of time that suits your needs. Tuesday meetings are held in room 111 with Ms.Chaudhary and Thursday meetings are with Mr.Arseneau in the library.
Q&A With the Gaming Club!
Juan Alarcon: Club Leader and Founder
Q: When you first pitched the idea of this club, did you envision it becoming more/less successful than it is now?
A: “LESS! WAY LESS! I only really expected one teacher to supervise one day a week. We started with only about 12 people attending, and now here we are. We have to adapt to 30-40 people attending recently, and we were lucky to have Mr.Arseneau and Mrs.Chaudhary to supervise two days a week.”
Q: What do you and the other club leaders have planned for the upcoming year?
A: “Last year, we had planned a trip to EGLX, but it didn’t happen because not enough people signed up and we advertised it too late. We have a larger club this year and I believe that with our numbers, we can make this field trip happen.”
Q: What advice would you give to a student who is looking to start their own team or club at Milton District?
A: “Just DO IT! What you need to do is find someone with similar interest and a teacher to supervise and you’re set. You can pitch it any time, but it won’t happen if you don’t try.”
Logan Semino: New club member
Q: What were you expecting from this club before you joined?
A: “People to play video games with”.
Q: As a grade 9, do you feel that you’ve made friends in the gaming community that you wouldn’t have made without the club?
A: “Yes, I now know some fellow Grade 9s who I don’t have any classes with.”
Q: What do you think the club should do/have to improve its quality and invite more members?
A: “Have a bit more of a specified announcement on what you are doing for each meeting”.
Caitlyn Campbell: Returning club member
Q: What about this year at the gaming club is different than last year?
A: “There’s definitely a lot more people compared to last year and we have more games set up. We also moved to the library on Thursdays instead of the active room which is great because there’s much more space”
Q: What made you want to come back to the club again this year?
A: “A lot of my friends are in the gaming club, and we all love video games so it gives us lots of time to compete with each other and to have a good time after school.”
Q: Which day is better to attend? Tuesdays or Thursdays, and why?
A: “It depends on what kind of stuff you’re into. Tuesdays are pretty chill so if you don’t like big crowds it would be better. There are only a couple game setups but it works for the small group that comes in. Thursdays can be a lot of fun because there’s a lot of people so we can do tournaments and have more games for everyone to play, but either day will be a lot of fun.”
Mr.Arseneau: Supervising teacher
Q: When a student first came to you with the idea of the gaming club, what were you expecting to come out of it?
A: “I was expecting 7 or 8 people sitting around playing games. I wasn’t expecting this many people to come, but it’s great to see!”
Q: How does it feel to see kids in 2018 continuing to play Super Smash Bros Melee, a game that you grew up with?
A: “It’s a really great feeling. I can coach them on it, and I find the skills from it applies to other game and life. It teaches hand-eye coordination, and it’s technically demanding. I love seeing them play it even if they can’t beat me.”
Q: If budget wasn’t an issue, what would you love to see in the club (games, consoles, field trips, etc.)?
A: “Well, we are planning the trip to EGLX, which we can definitely do if we get enough people. If budget wasn’t an issue, I would want a big LAN setup with PC games. Modern multiplayer PC games would be nice to see. I want variety as many systems as possible.”