Pickerington North Esports program offers students another opportunity – Natural Self Esteem

A burgeoning esports program at Pickerington High School North offers students the opportunity to participate and even earn college scholarships.

Esports refers to organized video game events or tournaments, culminating in championships at regional and international levels, where professional and amateur players compete against each other.

According to the National Association of Collegiate Esports, a nonprofit membership association organized by US colleges and universities with esports programs, there are now more than 170 member schools, enrolling more than 5,000 student-athletes and raising more than $16 million receive grants and grants.

These stats alone show the popularity of esports across the country, and they are backed by the digital industry’s online release insider Intelligence, which reported on March 7 that there will be 29.6 million monthly esports viewers in 2022, up 11.5% from 2021.

“It kind of went from 0 to 100,” said Josh Watkins, a special education specialist at Lakeview Junior High School and esports director at North.

North Senior Kevin Wang plays League of Legends against Akron STEM.  Wang said his gaming days are drawing to a close as he attends United State Military Academy West Point.

After the COVID-19 pandemic thwarted plans to establish Esports in North in Spring 2020, the program was launched for the 2020-21 school year.

This year, 50 students, including 35 from Lakeview, make up North’s team, dubbed the Pickerington Battlecats.

The group meets every Monday and Wednesday after school in a computer lab up north. Those who are at least 13 years old can compete against schools from across the state in games like League of Legends to earn match wins and increase their personal rankings.

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