Yes, it’s pretty satisfying to knock a soccer ball into the opposing team’s goal with your car in Rocket League, a popular video game.
But today’s video games have embarked on a new and ambitious quest, and esports (electronic sports) – one of the fastest-growing high school and college sports – is burning its way into screens across Pennsylvania.
And Trinity Area High School, one of the first schools in the region to incorporate esports into its curriculum, is among the leaders of that trend.
Trinity also fields an esports team that competes in PlayVS, a scholastic esports league.
“Trinity Area is thrilled to be one of the first school districts in the region to build an esports program,” said Superintendent Dr. Michael Lucas. “I am incredibly grateful for our staff members’ assistance in helping us to prepare to launch the program this school year. Our esports coaches, teachers, and administrators work diligently to design and facilitate courses with real-world applications – the kind of courses students want to take.”
During each semester of the 2021-22 school year, Trinity Area is piloting Introduction to Esports courses to familiarize students with industry game developers’ roles, responsibilities and influences.
More than 90% of teens are active video gamers, and the popularity of video games has launched an entire industry of gamers, spectators and competition. In 2019, an estimated 453.8 million viewers watched esports matches around the country, hauling in a record $1.1 billion in revenue from sponsorships and advertising.
Trinity and other high schools see the opportunity that esports offer for students interested in attending college. The National Association of Collegiate Esports reports more than 170 colleges and universities around the country now have varsity programs, and they’re pursuing the best high school gamers with more than $16 million in scholarships each year.
While some students will wind up as professional esports players, the games are also introducing students to a variety of professional opportunities they can explore once in college, including esports marketing careers, business management, game development, team coaching and more.
Trinity High School has installed a state-of-the-art, futuristic classroom equipped with the latest computers, gaming software, lighting, cameras, video game cards, and broadcasting software to provide students with an authentic, hands-on learning and playing experience.
About 30 student-athletes participate on Trinity’s esports team, where the compete against other teams in Pennsylvania and other states in Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, League of Legends, and Rocket League.
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