KENILWORTH, NJ — Previously considered just a fun distraction, video gaming has become both a school course and an after-school organized sport — and students at David Brearley Middle-High School are delighted.
The high school launched an Esports curricular class and an extra-curricular program this school year, and both are seeing much success. Students with a variety of interests are participating and learning about the video-game industry.
Those taking the Esports class use the game Minecraft to design maps and draw them to scale on grid paper, format and apply them into the program, and then develop systems so they function, said James Springsteen, Esports instructor and coach at the high school.
“Esports is a combination of coding and design as well as business management, brand identity, and creation through the lens of gaming,” he said during a presentation at a recent Board of Education meeting. “The students also make their own teams and merchandise, and then we finish with an in-class event that they organize themselves.”
About 30 students joined the Esports after-school program, which takes place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. They play games including Rocket League, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Valorant and Overwatch 2. The competitive teams play other schools from across the state, and the winter season teams earned a place in the first round of the state finals.
“For a program that began in January, to have this record is very impressive,” said principal Jeremy Davies. “The kids take on a team mentality much like a soccer or softball team. There’s a whole team dynamic with coaching, strategy, watching and reviewing plays. It’s fascinating to watch them.”
Other technologically inclined students are participating in Brearley’s Robotics Club. The club competed in its inaugural First Tech Challenge, finishing just short of the state competition.
For more information about Kenilworth Public Schools Esports, visit kenilworthschools.com.
Photos Courtesy of Candy Szymczak