Circle Update: Here’s News About Our Nonprofit That Includes Info About Scholarship Winners, The 12th NY Game Awards – And Much More!

Reggie Fils-Aimé visited our excellent Mott Hall III Bronx students virtually in June.

By Harold Goldberg

My Bad Fall Begins Our Update, But There’s So Much Positive News, Too!

Just over a month ago, I fell while working on my house in the mountains. A helicopter flew me to the trauma center at Albany Med, where I found I’d broken my pelvis in three places, had a small brain bleed, a concussion and a bruised arm so bad it grossed out a nurse. Alone in a room and too far for family to get to, all manner of people came in and out at all hours. I looked at it as a puzzle to solve, like I do in video games. How do I move without the most pain or get all questions answered from doctors with too much on their plates? This helped me get through the day-by-day isolation. Back in NYC, the recovery period has been long, but the progress has been steady.

I mention this because once I got home from Albany, Circle business, mentoring and awesome intern stories proceeded pretty much as it all has in the past. Board members Reggie Fils-Aime and Sherri L. Smith, our many stalwart POC interns and others have stepped up. In my case, I do not like to take time off. At all. But I have to admit that I have been slowed, especially when it comes to typing on a laptop. That hurts a lot. Still the Circle continues to shine as a nonprofit. It is wonderfully strong.

Here are the highlights:

  • Four New, Paid Writer Interns. With the help of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, we’re adding four new, paid interns from the Bronx, three of whom have already begun their tenure here. Each has gone through one semester of courses and has won a college scholarship. They’re excellent out of the gate because they’ve proven themselves.
  • Games Playwriting. Channeling “The Last of Us” + Lynn Nottage. Students finished the first NYVGCC playwriting and games class at the TapCo school in the Bronx. We studied one-act play theory, and read Lynn Nottage’s Crumbs from the Table of Joy carefully. They studied narrative in games like “The Last of Us Part II” and some Mario games. Then, the students created one-act plays with a game plot at the heart of them. Two students won $3,000 college scholarships for their efforts and one, Karoline Castillo-Troncoso, became a paid intern.
  • Mott Hall III Scholarships. Students at Mott Hall III in the Bronx finished a 12-week, intensive journalism program that included writing reviews along with social justice-oriented poetry and game narratives. Three students from the school won college scholarships for their work, and Khloe Wilkerson, the top winner, won a paid internship. Reggie mentored virtually here as well. It really was the best class we’ve ever participated in.
  • Bx Start Scholarships. Three students at Bx Start won scholarships for their reviews, poems and game narrative, and one of them, Valeisha Jackson, has become a paid intern at Valeisha likes horror games and journal writing. She’ll do really well with us. Bx Start is part of the DreamYard Project, our longest-running nonprofit partners.
  • Fair Game Writing Challenge. Our Games For Change Fair Game Writing Challenge concluded recently. Four students from around the country won cash prizes and a New York Videogame Critics Circle mentoring opportunity. Unfortunately, due to my accident, I had to cancel my speaking engagement at the festival. But the talk is evergreen and will work next year as well.
  • Bronxworks Shelters. Our partnership with the Bronxworks network of homeless shelters continues. In fact, our mentor/senior intern Isaac Espinosa will host a game day at their Jackson Street location in August. It will be full of game and journalism education, game playing, prizes and fun.
  • Our Rockstar Games Scholarship. In partnership with Rockstar Games and the NYC DOE, we are facilitating the payment of a $10,000 college scholarship to a homeless student. She won our citywide games narrative contest and will attend BMCC in the fall.
  • Our Poetry Book. Social justice-oriented poetry is part of our curriculum. Our poetry book will be based on the wonderful, social-justice-oriented verse of many of our students in class, interns and some of our Critics Circle journalist members. It will be published at this time next year or in the early fall of 2023.
  • Our Journalism Course Goes Online! In September, we’ll place the first of our courses online – for free. Our Games Journalism class was the first we ever taught, and it remains very popular to this day. Having 10 classes online will help educators from around the country and the world to access our classes in a clear, visually-compelling way. We’ll help them create their own classes based on their own needs as well. Our interns will be involved in the web design for this project as well.
  • Reggie Wrote About The Circle In His Bestselling Book. In his bestseller Disrupting The Game, Reggie Fils-Aimé wrote about how he game to join the Circle. It’s a compelling story at the tome’s end, and it tells the story about how I convinced Reggie to come to the Bronx to see our important work.
  • 12th Annual NY Game Awards. We have begun work on the 12th Annual New York Game Awards to be held next January. Expect many surprises from us after Labor Day. Our deck is being finished now, so we’ll begin contact with our partners next week.
  • Read Our Bronx Interns’ Awesome Work. Please read our Bronx interns’ work at 95 percent of our website is written by our stellar young writers who have both passion and insight that belies their young years.

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