Seniors replicate Upper School campus on Minecraft server

16+seniors+replicated+the+Upper+School+campus+on+a+Minecraft+server%2C+hoping+to+host+a+Minecraft+virtual+graduation+at+the+end+of+the+school+year.

Michael Musallam

16 seniors replicated the Upper School campus on a Minecraft server, hoping to host a Minecraft virtual graduation at the end of the school year.

By Lydia Gafford, St. John's School - TX

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the last few months of high school for seniors across the nation have been cut short—seniors missed their last dances, their graduation and their last days as high schoolers together. Some SJS students long for the campus itself. This is unacceptable for 16 SJS seniors.

Will Leger, Michael Musallam, Brinkley Morse, Cooper Hay and 12 others have worked to compensate for this lost time by building the SJS Upper School campus on a Minecraft server.

“[We’re] just a bunch of seniors who are bored and miss school,” Hay said.

After reconciling with the probable postponement of the commencement and baccalaureate ceremonies, Leger jokingly proposed in a group chat to hold a virtual ceremony on the Great Lawn in Minecraft. His suggestion received ample enthusiasm, and someone eventually proposed building the entire Upper School in Minecraft survival mode. 

According to Hay, the project was partly inspired by a similar project in which University of Georgia students built part of their campus in Minecraft and organized a virtual graduation ceremony.

“Someone sent a picture of it to the group chat with a bunch of guys on the server and was like, ‘let’s do this,’” Hay said. “It came together from there.”

Building together has been a method of staying connected while social distancing. The survival server was used in the past to play individually, but building the campus is an opportunity for students to come together. 

“This is the very first thing where everyone’s working together towards one common goal,” Musallam said.

The hope is that, much like at UGA, a Minecraft graduation for the class of 2020 can be arranged. 

Enthusiastic students intend to contact the administration to organize the ceremony as an official SJS event. In adventure mode, anyone with a Minecraft account would be welcome to log on to the server, explore the virtual campus and attend the ceremony. 

Hay, who runs the server, is concerned about the logistics.

“Some people really want to share it with other people when we’re done, but logistically it would be kind of hard to do because Minecraft accounts are a $20-$25 investment,” Hay said. “ If we just shared pictures that would probably be doable.”   

Others are not so easily discouraged and look forward to the opportunity to graduate this spring, even if it will not be in person. The seniors are very proud of their work and hope to share it with their classmates.

“It was something to bring all of us together and have a big goal that we all can accomplish,” Musallam said.

This story was originally published on The Review on April 27, 2020.