Say hello to Thomas Williams – South Africa’s first-ever eSports scholarship winner. Cool, right? So, what does being the best Minecrafter get you? Well, infinite bragging rights, access to arguably the best eSports arena in the country, and the love of your parents. Oh, and the R300,000 scholarship and accompanying prizes from Cooler Master and Asus are cool too, we guess.
For the uninitiated, Centennial Schools recently held a ‘tournament’ to find the three best eSports candidates between the ages of 12-15. That tournament took place on Saturday, 11 March, with Thomas Williams, Jordan Harris, and Oluseeni Olusa claiming the top three spots. Though not quite walking away with a R300,000 scholarship, second and third place still secured R200,000 and R150,000 scholarships respectively (plus Asus and Cooler Master tech to go with it).
But can they beat Crisis?
The tournament saw 30 kids battling it out in games such as Minecraft, Aim Lab, Superliminal, and Overcooked. We’re just guessing here, but we assume that last one was only thrown in – not to test the participants’ cooking skills – but rather to get a better sense of their personalities. All is revealed in a short game of Overcooked, whether you like it or not.
The final hurdle was a game of Minecraft at the school’s beautiful arena – though we aren’t entirely sure what ‘mode’ the students competed in. 12-year-old winner, Thomas Williams spoke about the final after it had concluded:
“I gave my absolute best during the competition and pushed myself to not give up. The competition was challenging, but I enjoyed every minute, and feel that I am leaving a more experienced gamer,” he said. “My grandfather used to hide barrels from me when I was young, so perhaps that gave me a slight edge in Minecraft. I am super excited to start my scholarship at Centennial Schools.”
We can only assume that the remaining participants played a spirited round of prop hunt, right? Right?
The school’s founder, Shaun Fuchs, explains why he thinks so highly of eSports in schools: “eSports is incorporated into our re-imagined approach to education as it teaches students valuable skills beyond the classroom.”
With the founder’s attitude to eSports, it’s hard to imagine this was a once-off tournament for Centennial Schools. It’s likely we’ll see something similar again next year, plus the official eSports team that the school puts together.