DCSD considers starting eSports team for students

By Bobby Bryant, Editor


eSports — organized competitions in which teams of players face off on computers – may be coming to the Darlington County School District. Education Superintendent Tim Newman told the county school board last week that district officials are considering starting a districtwide eSports team and will work up proposals for the board members to look at. Newman believes that the district’s existing facilities could support an eSports team. “After school, (students) play video games,” Newman told the board during an Oct. 25 work session. “This is an outlet for them to still be together, and to share some commonality and be on a team together, and work together.” “This actually gets them off the couch, where they’re doing it at home, and gets them into an environment where it’s structured and they’re around their peers,” Newman said. “There’s a lot more structure to it than just sitting at home.” Newman said eSports “gives kids an opportunity to do something that they enjoy. It’s gotten incredibly competitive, and it’s grown like crazy.” Florence School District 1 and Coker University have started eSports teams. Generally, teams compete against each other playing off-the-shelf computer games like “Fortnite,” “Call of Duty” and “Madden NFL.” “We did visit the Florence 1 eSports program that they set up recently,” Newman told the board. “A very impressive set-up, but typical of what’s out there across the country. You’re talking about the best of the best computers, the best of the best screens, and it’s in real time that they’re competing.” Florence 1 built a “state of the art” eSports facility at the district’s Poynor Education Building. It offers 12 competitive stations and seating for about 40 spectators. TV monitors let spectators see what the gamers are seeing. Florence 1 officials praise their eSports program. On the district’s website, Wyatt Howle, a network administrator for the Florence 1 Technology Department and a key player in getting the team started, says: “At pretty much any high school, you will probably find a kid who is pretty smart but they just don’t care because they don’t have anything to tie them there.” “You give them a community (like eSports), somewhere they have a group of peers where they can succeed, and you tie maintaining a GPA to being able to continue doing that, I think you will really start seeing those kids be good students. eSports is something that transcends different social groups; you will have the football players who play it and love it but you also have the nerds and even girls come out to play. It really is a little bit of something for everyone and it gives kids the chance to succeed.”

Author: Stephan Drew

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