In Escondido, California, the Escondido Union School District held its inaugural Esports Championship, featuring controllers, games, and fierce competition.
Middle school students from the district had the opportunity to take part in this landmark event, which was held at Hidden Valley Middle School.
“Witnessing the excitement as they got off the buses and entered the event, there was clear evidence of school pride and team spirit,” commented EUSD Superintendent, Luis Rankins-Ibarra.
The program, which kicked off at the beginning of the school year, benefitted from funding through the state’s Expanded Learning Opportunities Program. The EUSD was awarded approximately 21 million dollars for after-school programs and further educational activities.
“They’re gaining exposure to gaming, collaboration skills, and critical thinking strategies,” explained Hidden Valley Middle School Principal, Bryanna Norton.
As a testament to the program’s progress, HVMS became the first middle school in the district to inaugurate a top-tier gaming room – an amenity that other schools will soon offer.
“Everything from the furniture to the lighting and technology has been meticulously designed to retain students’ interest, keep them engaged and stimulated, and promote continuous learning,” stated EUSD Extended Learning and Intervention and Enrichment Director, Rick Oser.
In total, about 120 students across the district are part of the E-Sports program, which provides a safe, engaging environment.
“They’re keenly interested in the career prospects related to e-sports, and it’s enlightening them about new ideas regarding potential careers they could pursue,” Norton pointed out.
For eighth grader Timothy Barry, an eager participant, this was a much-anticipated event. Although the game is competitive, it’s a pastime he truly enjoys.
“Typically, it’s just about casual fun, hanging out, gaming, and socializing…it’s incredibly entertaining,” Barry said.
The championship entailed a sequence of games, with the overall winners earning a trophy.
RELATED VIDEO: Squid Game: The Challenge: one man’s experience on the highly rated show.