WATERVILLE — Thomas College has re-imagined the Sixth annual Thomas Cup to be held in a virtual space and to meet the needs identified by high school students and teachers. This year’s Thomas Cup features five separate opportunities to participate. One of those opportunities is a week-long esports competition Jan. 11 to Jan. 16.

According to a news release from the college, students who register will be the first in the world to compete using a new competitive game mode for Minecraft Creative Clash — Pirate Cove. They also will have this unique opportunity to meet the Minecraft game designers, coders, and artists to give them feedback on the new game mode (like play testers) and to learn more about these types of computer science and information technology careers.

“Thomas remains committed to fostering homegrown talent at the nexus of business, technology and innovation. We are excited to partner with Microsoft to offer this amazing opportunity to high school students. Beyond the fun of competing, students will have a chance to talk with the Minecraft team about the knowledge, skills, and experiences needed to succeed in the tech industry — and we hope this inspires them to explore more of those in-demand careers,” said Thomas Cup co-organizer Amanda Nguyen, according to the release.

“We are really excited about this partnership with Thomas College. The Thomas Cup is an incredible opportunity for young people to connect with and explore potential futures. Microsoft has been developing our esports Minecraft content for the last year and the Thomas Cup represents an incredible opportunity for us to work with those young people interested in the technology and gaming industries to playtest that content and give us direct feedback that will shape our roadmap for 2021,” said Microsoft’s Senior Engagement Program Manager Stephen Reid, according to the release.

This competition will take place in Minecraft: Education Edition, which can run on PC, Mac, iPad, and Chromebook — and Thomas College has the ability to provide students with a short-term license so they can participate. Thomas College is proud to level-the-playing field so that all students with or without gaming devices can participate fully. Strong communication, collaboration, and critical thinking skills will be required to develop winning strategies.

This event is free for high school students to participate.

To register, or for more information, visit thomas.edu/thomas-cup.