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Kids Save the World from Zombies, Once a Week After School

  • Shelley Schlender

Even before George Romero put out "Night of the Living Dead" in 1968, zombies were a thing. But ever since, Zombies have been a constant presence in our cultural landscape. The unreality of the undead gives the horror of a Zombie Apocalypse a humorous edge. Students at Maryland’s Goucher College wanted to get into the fun and started playing a version of Humans versus Zombies a decade ago. It caught on and fans play the game all over the world, including at Fairview High School in Boulder, Colorado.

Saving the world

Many of these Fairview High school students plan to be scientists and engineers. But on Wednesdays, they gather in a classroom after school, and prepare to save the world from zombies.

“So right now the kids are arming themselves.They’ve got their blasters and whatever melee weapons they’re going to use,” said Social Studies teacher, Scott Peoples, an advisor to the “Humans versus Zombies” club.

“Because we’re doing this in a school, we can’t use terms like guns and shoot. So, they have to use terms like blaster and blast,” Peoples explained. “The penalty for using the wrong word is 10 pushups.”

In preparation for their mission to save the world, most students tie a bandana on an arm. They’re human. But watch out for the ones with bandanas around their heads - they’re zombies!

Once everyone is armed with foam darts and identified by bandanas, the Zombies versus Humans game of tag begins!

Through high school hallways! Down the stairs!

"If I do say myself, you get a really great workout, running up and down the ramps,” said Nicolena, as she took a break from chasing humans. “Running, endorphins, endorphins make people happy.”

Surviving the transformation

In his first game, World Language teacher Jonathan Yonk didn't do so well.

“My first interaction with a zombie today resulted in my transformation into a zombie. So I think I have a lot to learn from the kids as far as surviving,” he said.

But the students appreciate his being there. "I think of him more as a friendly person than I do as a teacher,” Hayden said. “Um, I still respect him of course.”

Yonk said it's good for the students to blow off some steam.

“Oh, yeah! They’re under a lot of pressure that they put on themselves to get good grades and study hard, so this is a good release,” he added.

But Hayden said it’s more than that - the club has a multitude of educational benefits. “Creativity and leadership skills and especially in keeping people organized,” he said.

And there's an immediate benefit.

“I know that after human versus zombies I know that I go home and I’m like, 'Man, I can do my homework now!'” he said.

Even if, as usual, the humans fail to win.

“The final human was zombified. That means every human has been zombified and the world has descended into a zombie apocalypse,” proclaimed Hayden.

Until next week, when students at Fairview High will get another chance to save the world from zombies.