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Game On!

Game On! Celebrates Almost 100 Yakima-area Students’ Success

Game On! Students

Last week 85 middle and high school students spent the day on Central Washington University (CWU) campus as part of an end of the year Game On! celebration.

The June 6 graduation brought Game On! participants from Yakima to CWU. They spent the day exploring Central’s campus, receiving college admissions information, being encouraged by college students, and gazing at the stars during a trip to CWU’s new planetarium.

The purpose of this year-end activity served to inspire students to recognize the importance of higher education, show that college is attainable, and further encourage them to pursue a degree in computer coding or other computer-related fields. Moreover, it was to celebrate their year-long commitment to the program.

This was the second visit for these students to Central.

“Each time Game On! students visit campus you can see the transformation come over them as they realize attending college is possible,” executive director Manuel Rodriguez.

The Game On! program incorporates the power of soccer to enhance student’s leadership skills, character and values and computer coding, and a STEM-based curriculum to expose these students to learning experiences that will allow them to explore opportunities for achieving a university degree and high-skilled employment.

During the 2016-17 academic year, Game On! served 110 students from six Yakima School District (YSD) schools. Stanton Academy and Eisenhower High School completed their second year in the program, and four middle schools (Franklin, Wilson, Lewis and Clark, and Washington) completed their first year. Many of the students are Hispanic.

At the year-end celebration, William Brenes, a flight test operations engineer for Boeing told the students about the opportunities available in the science and technology fields for those willing to work hard.

Brenes, who is also president of the Boeing Hispanic Employees Network–Puget Sound and Boeing representative on the Great Minds in STEM–Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards committee said he has a personal and professional interest in inspiring the next generation of Hispanic STEM professionals.

CWU President James L. Gaudino also addressed the group and joined Brenes and the scholars in a group photo to mark the occasion.

As part of being a Game On! participant, students commit to attending after-school meetings twice a week. Students learn coding for an hour and sharpen their soccer skills for 90 minutes. CWU sponsors visits to the university campus to welcome students into a friendly educational future.

The Game On! program is made possible by a partnership between the Real Madrid Foundation, the largest sports franchise in the world, together with  the world’s leading software company, Microsoft Corporation, CWU and the YSD.

Central Washington University coordinates the Game On! communication and training efforts, as well as promotes and provides a new and exciting opportunity for these Game On! students to achieve their goals of completing a university degree.

For more information about Game On! contact Manuel Rodriguez, executive director at, 509-963-2216.

Media contact: Dawn Alford, public affairs coordinator, 509-963-1484,

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