The author at work

If you told me six months ago that my love for games would lead to a close working partnership with the Makati City government, Makati Department of Education and Makati Sangguniang Kabataan, I wouldn’t have believed you.

But it did happen.

I started Scope for Change last year when I turned 15 after I saw how the pandemic affected many people economically, socially and even psychologically. The main goal of Scope for Change then (and now) was to use esports and games as an avenue to help kids and teens during this time of need, while at the same time exposing them to computers and programming to develop their interest in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) field.

I believe the STEM field is a valuable path for students to pursue as the age of digitalization brings ever-evolving technologies that are permanently changing the society we live in. Literacy in technology is the new credential for future success. I intended to use esports as a tool to entice kids and teens to be aware of the current challenges during the pandemic while augmenting their STEM interests and learning in a fun and fulfilling experience.

Chibibi Dodge won the top prize at the game development competition.

After last summer’s successful Scope, this year I contacted Makati City Councilor Tosca Puno Ramos who asked for a proposal for the Makati City office. After a few weeks, I was contacted by the Makati City DepEd and Makati City Sangguniang Kabataan who were very receptive—and soon a tripartite memorandum of agreement with the Makati City government and Makati City DepEd was signed.Game development tutorials

Public school students aged 15 to 18 were invited by DepEd and on Aug. 6, the Scope for Change Summer Gaming Workshop began with more than 120 teens all hooked on video games, like me. They all received game development tutorials I prepared to aid them. I was also available during the four weeks for any posted query.

Teams of five competed in a game development competition with Makati City as the theme. The top prize of P30,000 went to Team Sadako for their rendition of the infinite jumper game “Chibibi Dodge,” where you dodge viruses and collect hand sanitizers, face masks and vaccines with the Makati skyscrapers in the backdrop.

Team Renaissance

The second place of P20,000 went to Maksci Gaming for “Agawan Base,” a Monopoly-esque game featuring various Makati properties and landmarks. In third place, Team Sturdy New Gen took home P10,000 for their endless runner titled “Juan’s Adventure,” which features Juan, a kid from Makati, as the main hero. These games are published as free games on the Google Play store.

The fun did not end there. Like me, the participants have fantasized about playing in an e-sports tournament and competing against opponents who are just as passionate to win. Thus, we concluded the workshop with a Mobile Legends Tournament boasting a P20,000 grand prize, complete with live casters and streaming on multiple social media platforms—the same environment professional Mobile Legends players play in. Winners were Team Makatizens (first prize), Team Sadako (second prize) and Team Renaissance (third prize).

Games are always thought of as a distraction in today’s context but, just like Dr. Carleen S. Sedilla, Makati DepED division superintendent said at our event, “Games are a means of capturing the passions of the youth and translating them into meaningful endeavors in computers, programming and the STEM field.”

eam Makatizens

Long-lasting interest

My abundant, overflowing passion for games has indeed translated to interests in game development, technology and future career paths that involve science and engineering.

I hope the workshop imparted a long-lasting interest for the students to develop their skills and knowledge in technology and programming, aiding them in pursuing a career path that can uplift the competitiveness of our country in the field of science and technology.

I want the students and parents to experience what I have learned. Despite video games being distracting at times, they can also prove to be a valuable catalyst in learning practical STEM-related skills when engaged in moderation. They can develop our youth’s competence in computers and programming and allow them to compete against other countries for valuable knowledge-based jobs in the future.

Team Sadako

This project would not have been successful without the help and support of many significant people: Councilor “Dudong” San Pedro who is also the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation president, Makati District 1 Councilor Tosca Puno Ramos, Makati DepEd School Division superintendent Dr. Carleen Sedilla, Makati DepEd director of education Rita Riddle and Makati DepEd senior education program specialist Maria Sofie Berondo, for believing in my advocacy and looking beyond games as just forms of entertainment.

Most importantly, thank you to Mayor Abigail Binay for her endorsement of my project. Without her strong advocacy for the Makati City youth, this project would not have been possible. Thank you also to Lenovo for being the major sponsor of the event and Logitech, our partner sponsor, for trusting me in this endeavor.

The author, 16, is a grade 11 student in International School Manila taking the full IB program.

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