High school set to kickoff Esports Club

More high schools are adding esports opportunities for students as colleges invest scholarship money for the wide array of skills the competition produces.
Posted on 02/03/2022
Dr. Michael Zackon, QCSD's Supervisor of Secondary Programs, is interviewed by students on the high school video team following a presentation about the school's new Esports Club.By Gary Weckselblatt

Quakertown Community High School is adding one of the nation’s fastest-growing clubs to its wide array of activities for students. The Esports Club was introduced to students on Feb. 1 and is scheduled to begin on Feb. 17.

The goal of the club is to provide students with a positive social environment that includes quality mentors to help them experience and grow positive skills that can be applied in their educational and personal lives, said Sandi Frisch, a QCHS business teacher who will be a club advisor along with video production teacher Lincoln Kaar and science teacher Andy Snyder.

“I’m excited for the opportunities our students can gain through this,” said Mrs. Frisch, who led the presentation to 21 interested students in the Quakertown Performing Arts Center. “This isn’t just about playing a game. There’s so much more to it, teamwork, critical thinking. The skillset they’ll build is important to their future.”

Dr. Michael Zackon, QCSD’s Supervisor of Secondary Programs, agreed. “It’s an excellent opportunity for students to not only have fun but to learn skills such as critical thinking, situational awareness, communication, problem-solving, analysis and reflection that they will need for college and successful careers.”

The Panthers will be part of the North American Scholastic Esports Federation. Like all school clubs, students must meet all eligibility requirements, including a 2.0-grade point average, to participate.

Since 2018, when the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) first recognized esports as an official sport, more than 8,600 high schools have started video-gaming teams, according to the National Education Association. Last year, more than $16 million in esports scholarships were awarded by U.S. colleges, helping to fuel that explosive growth.

More than eight-in-10 teens (84 percent) say they have a game console at home or have access to one, and 90 percent say they play video games on a computer, game console or cellphone, according to a 2018 Pew Research Center study.

“I really like the idea of having a competition in school of a game that nearly everybody plays at home,” said Alyssa Markie, a senior. “I look forward to competing against students from other schools.”

Anthony Clark, a junior, said “This is something you do for fun at home and to be part of a team will be really cool.”

Quakertown isn’t the first local district to join an esports league. Central Bucks School District began competing in esports a year ago. And colleges are investing in the program. Kutztown University spent $250,000 to build an Esports Arena on its campus. It competes against other universities across the country, including regional teams from Penn State, Slippery Rock, Drexel, Arcadia, Edinboro, and Lafayette.

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529-2028 or [email protected].

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