Seven Central Students Attend BlueSky Institute Gaming Event


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BLUESKY INSTITUTE GAMING EVENT — Pictured above are seniors Kodey Ellis, Edickson FriasCruz, Nicholas Garnand, Dylan Grampp, Fernando Hernandez, Raven Hingleton, Logan Stegmaier as well as Principle Phil Iannarone and College Access Advisor Stacy Alexander.

MacKenzie Farner, Staff Writer

Earlier this year, seven Central students participated in the Blue-Sky Blue-Institute Gaming Event hosted by BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS) and Chattanooga State.

The event was held on September 9, 2021 at the BCBS building in downtown Chattanooga. There were one-hundred and seven total students from various schools across Hamilton County, including seven seniors from Central. Students began the competition day at the STEM School campus at Chattanooga State and were then taken to the BCBS building in downtown Chattanooga to showcase their games.

College and Career Advisor Stacy Alexander was in charge of Central’s teams going into the competition.  Alexander found out about the competition through Principle Phil Iannarone, and from there, Alexander emailed seniors asking for those who would be interested in participating. Participants included seven seniors: Kodey Ellis, Edickson FriasCruz, Nicholas Garnand, Dylan Grampp, Fernando Hernandez, Raven Hingleton, and Logan Stegmaier. Students who participated in the event were required to write a code for a video game of their own design as well as a control panel designed to operate the game. Students games and control panels were later showcased at the BlueCross BlueShield building for corporate people to test.

“The competition was amazing for participants!” Senior Raven Hingleton commented, “My goal going into the competition was to learn more about gaming and coding and also learn how to work through frustrating and new things.”

The event was organized by East Tennessee State University and BCBS and their new program the Blue Sky Institute. The collaboration between ETSU and BCBS offers students the opportunity to earn a Bachelor’s of Science through ETSU within twenty-seven months or a little over two years instead of the typical four year process. After graduating from the program, students will have a guaranteed job with BCBS in the computing/cyber security department. Classes would be taken at the BCBS building here in Chattanooga, and the degree would be earned from ETSU, making the students ETSU graduates.

“All the games were showcased at BlueCross BlueShield for corporate people to play. I think everyone was impressed with what the students of Hamilton County can do,” expressed Alexander.