KHS eSports 2019

KHS eSports 2019
KHS eSports 2019Kokomo High School launches esports team

     A team of Kokomo High School students will compete against 13 other Indiana teams this fall in the state’s first season of high school esports. 
KHS history teacher Matt Myers launched the esports team this school year after sponsoring the KHS Gaming Club last school year. The new team, Mr. Myers noted, allows students to continue pursuing a passion or hobby, while also helping students develop important soft skills needed in the workforce.
     “Students on our esports team are learning important skills, including the 4 C’s: Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, and Critical Thinking,” Mr. Myers explained.
     According to the National Education Association, the 4 C’s are the 21st Century skills considered most important in K-12 education. Playing esports offers another perk. Mr. Myers spends time during each practice offering announcements, including messages from colleges offering new scholarships to esports players. Mr. Myers explained that at least 100 U.S. colleges offer scholarships to recruit esports players, who often tend to pursue STEM-based careers.
     KHS Vice Principal Jason Spear, who helps oversee the KHS STEM Academy, noted: “I love that the esports program keeps students engaged, while allowing them to explore learning opportunities in an environment where they thrive. Engaging in extra-curricular activities, such as this competitive gaming program, helps our students build confidence while engaging in an outstanding high school learning experience. This program opens doors to the possibility of many post-secondary opportunities.”
Students on Kokomo High School’s esports team agree.
     “I plan to become a video game designer someday, so I can see this looking really good on my resume,” KHS junior Noah Parslow noted.
Noah is thrilled Mr. Myers launched a team at Kokomo High School.
“I have been hoping to see an esports team here for a long time,” Noah said. “I am really excited for this.”
     KHS senior Bret Hartman added: “I didn’t expect to have an esports team at KHS before I graduated. I have always wanted to try playing video games competitively, but I didn’t know how to do that on my own.”
KHS students currently are competing in three titles: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Rocket League, and League of Legends. 
     The students recently practiced for their first Super Smash Brothers competition. Super Smash Brothers meets consist of 1v1 and 2v2 matches. Each team starts 5 players in the individual matches, and 5 teams in the 2v2 matches. Players and teams are ranked in order; the No. 1 player/duo from the home team plays the No. 1 player/duo from the away team. No. 1 matches are worth 3 points, and No. 2 matches are worth 2 points. Matches 3 through 5 are worth one point each.
     During a recent practice, students offered each other tips as they played. Practices, the students noted, are used to strategize and learn teamwork.
     “Right now we are figuring out how well we play together,” Noah added.
     Practices, and competitions, also are a way for students to build friendships.
     “I don’t have internet at home, so I don’t have a chance to play with other people,” Noah noted. “The esports team is a good opportunity for me to better my skills while meeting other people who share my interests.”
Bret added that he does have internet at home, and is able to play online with other people. Bret still prefers the camaraderie of his esports team.
“Playing online is not the same as playing with other people in person,” Bret said. “This is much more fun.” 
     Parent Brooke Reich is thankful Mr. Myers is providing an additional opportunity for students at KHS.
     “The esports team has been so motivating for my son,” Brooke explained. “He is unable to play other sports, and spends a great deal of time indoors for health reasons. The esports team has given my son something to look forward to. I have seen an improvement in his motivation to maintain good grades, and a desire to connect more with his peers socially. I am so grateful that a teacher is reaching out to young adults, like my son, and providing them with this amazing opportunity.”
     KHS Vice Principal Kelly Barker, who also helps oversee the KHS STEM Academy, noted that Kokomo High School administrators, and staff, take pride in providing students a wide range of curricular and extra-curricular options.
     “We are incredibly proud of our ability to offer esports to our students at Kokomo High School,” Mrs. Barker explained. “Esports is simply one more learning option that allows KHS to cater to students who wish to participate in competitive gaming rather than simply play for recreational purposes. Already, Kokomo High School has had a student complete the high school graduation requirements so that student could compete in national gaming tournaments, at which the student is compensated financially. For several years, school officials have been telling students that their post high school goals and occupations could include opportunities and jobs which currently do not exist. Esports brings that conversation to reality since these students now are experiencing employment opportunities that did not exist when they were freshmen.”
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