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High school virtual reality gaming team to compete in May 2020 statewide contest

PMG PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Nate Johnson, Davin Logan, Rob McGlothin, Hunter Perkins and Spencer Jones. At Sandy High School, four students' tech dreams are becoming a reality — or at least virtual reality.

As part of the effort to expand career and technical education (CTE) offerings, the high school added courses in game production and coding this year, with more advanced classes on the horizon. Teacher Rob McGlothin applied for and received a grant through Perkins to design an advanced course and purchase VR equipment.

Sandy High is one of the only schools in the area with such a CTE program.

Until those are available, four students have taken their education upon themselves and are using a statewide VR game creation contest to gain hands-on experience in the field.

Hunter Perkins, Davin Logan, Spencer Jones and Nate Johnson are in the process of creating their own game under the Oregon Game Project Challenge prompt of "diverse" to submit for competition in May 2020.

"We want it to be mostly focused on VR because the trend continues to grow," Perkins, a junior at Sandy High, said.

"A lot of the entries that did really well were not much different than anything they've already done here," McGlothin said. The four students, identifying themselves as the Game Production Lab for competitive purposes, mostly have game creation experience from hobby-level exploration on their own time.

"They are in this weird phase where they don't know what they don't know," McGlothin added. "(Game production) is a very real world (skill) to learn nowadays."

"These skills for now are dedicated to making games, but they're applicable to doing more," Johnson said.

Johnson said he's looking forward to "having a tangible project" because of the Oregon Game Project Challenge. "This is hopefully going to be a long-term project we'll be proud of," he said. The team will be responsible for researching and creating their own images, music and coding, with Logan working on scripting the game and Jones illustrating the project.

"It would be great to see people of all different skillsets get involved in this," Perkins noted. "It's fantastic that this opportunity has arisen."

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