Independence Middle School Students Face Off in Gamer Club Tournament with Faculty and Police Chief

The Independence Middle School Gamer Club is now in its second year and moderated by sixth-grade science teacher Michaela Bloam. It has been a massive hit.  

They held two tournaments last year. One was Super Smash Brothers Ultimate and the other was a Mario Kart 8 tournament. Students, teachers, administration and even Police Chief Robert Butler participated. “Students love the opportunity to compete against adults,” said Bloam.  

This year, the Gamer Club had a tournament on November 8 and looks forward to another one in April. 

The November tournament was Mario Kart challenges with more than 20 students competing against Superintendent Ben Hegedish, Principal Jamie Vanek, teacher Ken DeAngelis, and Police Chief Robert Butler. 

Bloam sets up a big smart board in the game room and the gamers have daily matches.  

Along with tournaments, they also have weekly lunches where they get together and play games, offering students the chance to play new games with other students across fifth through eighth grade.

“I am so passionate about giving these students a chance to share their love of games with peers and learn how to be a responsible gamer,” said Bloam. “Gaming also teaches students so many lifelong skills.”

Being a part of the Gamer Squad is similar to being on a sports team. Students feel like they belong among peers that enjoy similar things, and they feel that sense of community. Gaming is an all inclusive sport, and there are so many different types of games that anyone can find something they enjoy. Gamers work on problem solving through puzzles and challenges, hand eye coordination, collaboration and teamwork with peers, creativity, time management, concentration, and more. Gaming is an escape for some students, helping them relieve students from life's stressors. “I try to teach them all of the good that comes from gaming, because video games tend to get a bad reputation, but they are such a positive outlet for people of all ages,” said Bloam.