eSports program added to CHS offerings | Around Town

Brothers will team up to launch sport

It’s time to play to win.

Fire up the computer. Get the headset adjusted. Talk to the team.

Let’s play as eSports comes to Calhoun High School.

The Calhoun County ISD board approved the addition of eSports for the school during its December board meeting about a year after Andrew Camacho, with Information Technology at the high school, started pitching the idea.

“I give all the credit to board member Dominic Robles. He was the one that really saw the vision first,” said Andrew Camacho, who, with his brother, Alex Camacho, will run the program.”

He explained how they were attending a technology conference that in 2019 was showing all the teacher stuff, but by 2020 was displaying esports-related items such as desks and chairs.

“Everybody was like, that is it, and I’m having a field day – I know what every single thing is,” said Andrew Camacho.

Robles started talking about esports with fellow board members while Andrew Camacho spoke with Superintendent Evan Cardwell, who was the deputy superintendent at the time.

“Mr. (Larry) Nichols was showing him the ropes at that time, so I met with him, and he wanted to know about it. He knew a little bit more than I thought, so I explained what it is, and we went back and forth, but he saw the vision that I had pitched on day one. It took about a year, give or take, when he became superintendent, he gave me the reins to go with it, and we moved forward,” Andrew Camacho said.

Interest was gauged through surveys that looked at interest in esports, which Andrews Camacho said received about 100 positive responses.

A second survey gauged interest in the tech side of esports, to which about 100 positive responses were received. Another survey gauged interest in other aspects of esports, such as graphic design, videography, social media, and such, again with a positive response from the students.


The goal is to pull in kids who might not be involved in anything else as well as those who are.

“The main thing is to reach kids get off school, play games, and not communicate,” said Andrew Camacho. “They could be really good, but people may not know who the best player is until everybody talks. It could change kids’ lives.”

Esports could often be seen as just clicking keys on a keyboard, but “the biggest selling point in the game is to see past just playing games and look at it realistically,” said Andrew Camacho. “What is that kid doing while he’s playing – he’s thinking about what he is doing and focusing on that; he’s communicating with the team on the goals and learning problem-solving when the whole strategy changes,” said Andrew Camacho.

In addition to the play, the club will offer students a chance to learn the behind-the-scenes work as well, such as making content for social media, videos, interviewing skills, as well as the technology involved in putting on a show.

“It’s going to have so many moving parts,” said Andrew Camacho, who noted the digital graphics instructor is willing to help out.

Right now, there isn’t a video library, but Andrew Camacho said they are working on some and plan to have students create the content next year.

Content will include contests such as Beanboozled, where you get to taste jellybeans and hope for a good tasting one, and a Guess the 90s cartoon character.

In addition, he said they are working internships at Formosa and the school district.

And there are scholarships to college for esports.

Helping students build a portfolio to begin a career is one thing Alex Camacho wants to do.

“You can make a career out of this. People play for logos, for editing videos,” he said.

Also, communication skills are what Alex Camacho wants to develop in the students.

“At an event, and we hope to have one here to showcase what esports is to the community; on my side, it is getting the kids to do this part to be able to speak and present themselves, so that’s what it is really about for me,” said Alex Camacho. “I really want to build talking skills and communication and have an open line of communication, but I want them to interview and talk about what it means to them be in a class at school like this.”


This usually works from schools to college to the professional levels, but esports started professionally and then became big in colleges and is now finding its way into schools.

Yorktown has a big program, and other schools include Tuloso-Midway as well as Victoria and Tivoli. “They are not as vocal about it,” said Andrew Camacho. “Yorktown had one kid get a partial scholarship, and Coastal Bend College has given out a full ride for their esport league,” he explained.

There’s always been the competitive edge of beating someone’s high score in arcade games. This, explained by Andrew Camacho, is taken into esports in games such as Madden.

“At every family function, Thanksgiving, Christmas, I can play my uncle one-on-one in Madden or my brothers, so that’s what esports is. You take the game itself, that competitive aspect, and use strategy to play against somebody who plays as much as I do, practices as much as I do.”


The whole setup will include players, coaches, tech, and such. Andrew Camacho said they were in the DOTA league and Legal Edge. These are five-on-five strategy games that have goals and objectives to accomplish as a team such as trying to take a hill or capture a flag and return to base.

First-person shooter games were a concern of the school board, but Andrew Camacho said these were more about the strategy and teamwork to accomplish a goal and that the games have been tamed down for their audiences.

And while chess and other games will be offered, the goal is to involve as many players as possible.


Andrew Camacho played football at Calhoun High School, but an ACL injury when he was a sophomore forced him to miss a whole season of football as well as other sports.

“It took a little while to come back from that, so in my downtime, I needed to find something else. I couldn’t walk, couldn’t run, so when I found esports and figured it was like traditional sports, that’s when I got into it – at the very beginning – and have been following it ever since,” he said.

Alex Camacho was laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic, so that’s when he started to see the competitive side of game playing.

“I started seeing the videos of them competing, and I would go back and watch the older stuff, and it reeled me in,” Alex Camacho said. “I just played to play, not knowing that there is a strategy in every game. I said I wanted to do something with kids. All kids love to game, and if you can show them there’s a way to get a scholarship, that there is something there for them if they are not able to do sports or such or don’t like it,” said Alex Camacho.


Right now, the brothers are setting up the PCs and the tech and getting videos started for a February launch of the program.

But one thing Andrew Camacho believes is that Calhoun High School will be a leader in esports just like it is in academics, football, and powerlifting.

“It’s new, so people are scared to pull the trigger, but Calhoun got lucky. I know basically everything about it, and our superintendent has been a literal blessing bringing this in,” said Andrew Camacho. “I honestly believe this will happen.”

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