Massena may start esports club

Kimberly Wise sets up a computer for game play for Julian Shaw during a recent Women in Esports open house at SUNY Canton’s eSports Stadium. The Massena Central School District is considering the formation of an esports club that would work in partnership with SUNY Canton, SUNY Potsdam and the Police Activities League of Massena. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — Electronic gaming, or esports, could become part of the Massena Central School District’s after-school programming.

Athletic Director Gavin Regan and science teacher William Jaggers are scheduled to present information to the district’s Board of Education during its 7 p.m. meeting Thursday at the high school.

“Bill has been leading up our Attendance Committee and School Climate Committee at the high school,” Superintendent Patrick Brady said.

As part of that effort, he said one of the goals is to connect students to the school, for students to “feel like they have a place here,” and the introduction of an esports club could play a role.

“As part of that, he has looked at this esports concept. It is a growing field. Electronic gaming has grown into a billion dollar industry in the U.S. I would not be surprised if eventually it becomes an actual sport recognized by the state,” Mr. Brady said.

He said the program would be a partnership with SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam.

“Through their leadership, many of our local school districts are considering clubs and teams to compete against each other,” he said.

The Police Activities League of Massena will also be a partner.

“They’ve invested some money into computers in a partnership with SUNY Canton. To effectively have an esports program, you need computers that are robust enough to be able to run these high-level sophisticated programs. They have the computers in place. They’re looking to partner with us to have a club where our students will be using those computers each day to compete with other schools,” Mr. Brady said.

He said schools that have started an esports program provide a forum for students who might be disenfranchised and not connected to school.

“It brings them on to a team and gives them a sense of purpose. It also introduces them to the science behind video games, the technology and engineering. They don’t just play video games, they learn about programming,” he said. “Like any team or club, they have to be sure to keep their grades up and have no discipline issues so they can compete on the team.”

The students who participate might have an opportunity to continue their education after graduation.

“Colleges are providing scholarships for kids involved in esports,” Mr. Brady said.

He said they would start out slowly in their partnership with the Police Activities League of Massena. There would be a minimal cost for registration and a volunteer coach.

“I think we’ll see some interest in this,” he said.

Mr. Brady said they continue to look at options for students, as they’re doing with esports.

“Over the course of the last couple of years, we’ve added cross-country back, we’ve added JV volleyball back, and we’ve started a Cooking Club and CrossFit Club,” he said.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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