PHOENIX – To bolster participation in extracurricular activities and reach more students, the Phoenix Central School District is launching an esports team this spring.
The innovative program is the first of its kind in Oswego County and will provide an opportunity for high school students to engage in video game competitions against other students across the country.
Participants work in three or five-person teams to achieve various gaming tasks as part of the STEM accredited program.
“This is such a cutting-edge idea, and we’re excited to be able to form a team for our Phoenix students,” said Robert Edwards, PCSD’s executive director of instruction and personnel. “It’s set up like any other varsity sport. We’ll have a pre-season, practices and games.”
Edwards, who will coach the team alongside Nicole Covell — the district’s director of data, RTI and instructional technology — said esports have shown to increase student engagement by reaching a broader population. On top of the increase in participation numbers, team members also develop several key skills working in a team environment.
“The students work together on strategy, logic and communication, all while playing video games on a PC,” Covell said. “If participants hone these skills and excel in esports, they even have an opportunity to earn scholarships.”
Covell said that she and Edwards are thrilled to launch the inaugural season, which will begin with tryouts at 2:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at Emerson J. Dillon Middle School.
Participants will have the opportunity to play either “League of Legends” or “Rocket League” during competitions.