UPDATE: South Middle School physical education teacher Rachel Woodworth reports that all 16 finalists (with scores at 750,000+) in the Wii Dance Dance Revolution Tournament competed in a single elimination round on Tuesday to determine the winner.
Eighth grader Serena Wong came in first placed, followed by eighth grader Erin Flannery. Both girls will now move onto the National AAHPERD (American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance) Convention in Boston on March 16.
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Eleven Massachusetts schools are participating in the state's first Wii Dance Dance Revolution Tournament, including in Braintree, where students kicked off the local end of the competition on Monday during their gym classes.
South gym teacher Rachel Woodworth sent in an application on behalf of the school and its physical education program, and said "the kids are loving it so far." She and Matthew Freeman are running the local tournament, with help from its sponsors.
"We figured this is something they can do at home, everyone can do it," Woodworth said. "We're incorporating 21st century technology."
Representatives from Konami, the company behind the game, arrived at South at 6 a.m. on Monday morning to set up two rows of the video game and its movement-sensing mats. Konami and the American Alliance for Physical Education, Health, Recreation and Dance are sponoring the tournament.
Partnering with schools and physical education classes provides a positive alternative to the often-negative views that educators have of video games, said Yeon Lee, a senior marketing coordinator at Konami.
"This really shows that it's not true," Lee said. "Games can be a healthy part of education."
The competition at South will continue on Tuesday. Sixteen students with the highest scores will compete in a single elimination tournament and the winner will be invited to compete at the American Alliance for Physical Education, Health, Recreation and Dance Convention in Boston on March 16 for a first place cash prize of $5,000, a second place prize of $2,000 or a third place prize of $1,000.
The winner and his or her parent/guardian will also receive a complimentary stay at a Boston hotel the night before the convention.