Colin Harris ‘22 remembers attending his first DRIVE Assembly as a freshman and the lasting impact it left on him. It is what influenced him to join Student Activities this year and step into a leadership role in developing a mobile gaming app to support the 2022 Annual Drive Fundraiser.
This year marked Catholic Central’s 69th annual DRIVE, a rejuvenating time of year for students to strengthen the Catholic Central brotherhood while raising money to support the Catholic Central Tuition Assistance Program. Without DRIVE, one-third of current families would not be able to attend Catholic Central.
The week-long celebration traditionally involving skits, activity-based competitions, and other challenges, has evolved in recent years to leverage opportunities in the digital space. The most recent development, an annual DRIVE video game, promotes friendly competition throughout the student body.
This year, Harris created four different games inspired by popular mobile apps, adding a hint of Catholic Central spirit. The games include Mr. Bedard’s Crossy Street, Classroom Surfers, Luke Butler’s Money Stacker and Mr. Griffin’s Grammar Grumble.
At each of the 10 DRIVE assemblies, Harris greeted students with his much-anticipated tagline, “What’s up gamers!?” and would proceed to provide updates on the leaderboard and advances in the app’s development.
“It was cool to look behind the scenes and involve myself in the things I watched as a freshman and enjoyed throughout my high school career. Now, people will come to me and say, ‘What’s up gamer?’ It’s super memorable to be able to do this for everybody,” Harris said.
The series of games set a new precedent in several arenas: it was the first time the games were developed in 3D, the first time more than one game was offered, and it was the first time Catholic Central’s IT department rented a data server to ensure the applications could be easily downloaded from iOS and Android app stores.
“Previously, the games were very standard with 2D graphics,” he said. This year, we developed 3D graphics and developed an automated high score system so everyone could see it within the application, whereas years prior users would have to screenshot their score and send it by email for tallying.”
Though Harris led the development, he credits his co-developer Aiden Voth ’24 and the dozens of students who volunteered to contribute voiceovers and graphics that made this year’s DRIVE extra special.
Harris’s background in computer programming allowed him to create sophisticated code to give this year’s games better graphics, more automation, and even trackability when it came to player data. Harris began his coding education in elementary school and started out by learning the fundamentals through fun coding games, which eventually led to learning program languages.
“What really helped me to excel in computer programming was my time at Catholic Central,” he said. “I joined the robotics team where they taught me how to program properly, rather than just following YouTube tutorials. I also took AP computer science and that helped me to become a proficient coder.”
As far as results go, this year was a success across the board:
- Students raised an astounding $783,056.13 for tuition assistance, setting a new “high score” by more than $180,000.
- More than 70% of CC students downloaded and participated in the DRIVE video game challenge.
- Cooper St. Clair ’22 reigned supreme as the DRIVE Game Champion, winning first place in each of the four games.
Now as he approaches graduation, Harris reflects on the importance of becoming involved in activities. “That week was the most memorable out of my whole four years at CC,” he said. “Reach out and join a club. If it’s not for you, that’s ok, but you might find something you love.”
After graduation, Harris will be attending the University of Michigan with an intent to study engineering. We wish him the very best!
The CC DRIVE Game is available in the app store for download.