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Esports: it's more than a game.

Embracing Esports:  what do educators value about this?    
 
The answer is a lot.  The IH Foundation is supportive of innovative learning in our schools and we have just approved a 3-year Innovation Grant for the start-up and support of IH’s Esports club.  College-level Esports team at SLU.      Scene from an arena-sized competition

 What is Esports?  Esports is “electronic sports” and refers to competitive gaming using video games. It generally involves a team, training and competitions.  Competitive gaming at the high school and college level is growing quickly as the gaming industry looks to recruit future employees. The industry’s annual revenue exceeds $175 billion and currently employs nearly 300,000 people.  This is expected to increase 5% annually for the foreseeable future offering employment opportunities for today’s students. 

From Superintendent Mr. Kirk Koennecke 
"Esports is an exciting competition and networking outlet for a segment of students who may not otherwise be able to compete or be recognized in schools.  More important, projections put the Esports industry ecosystem on track to surpass over $1.8 billion in revenue by 2022. This is a viable career path opportunity for young people. From competing in multiple game platforms to prize pools, learning about streaming services and branding, and marketing and fun, there is much to be gained from both the social experience and the competitive environment in and around Esports. I’ve had the opportunity to see the founding of this league in Ohio, and to observe the reactions of those students involved, and it’s special."

From Indian Hill High School Principal Jeff Damadeo -
"Esports is not simply about playing video games. It encapsulates fields such as AI, graphic design, data science and video production.  Many of us grew up with systems such as Nintendo, Coleco and Genesis. Today's Esports industry encompasses the ability for students to not simply passively consume, but creatively engage with the science behind it."
 
Where are Esports currently being played?
Many schools in Cincinnati are already offering this as a competitive team:  Mariemont, Moeller, Sycamore, St. Xavier, Mason, Milford, Forest Hills, Turpin, Anderson, Oak Hills, Aiken, Taft, Elder. 
“At Mariemont HS, 70% of the students involved in Esports report it was their first co-curricular or extra-curricular activity,” reports Mark Richardson, IH Director of Technology.
 
Are there college teams and scholarships?
Like traditional athletic programs, college Esports programs offer scholarship scholarships to outstanding players.  Here are some well-regarded schools offering Esports scholarships:
Miami University
Ohio State
Michigan State University
UC Berkeley
University of California Irvine
Texas A & M
Georgia State 
 
And many more…151 schools offer Esports scholarships totaling $15 million as of 2018.  
There are about 175 colleges with Esports teams and clubs in the US and this number is sure to keep growing.  
 
Esports changes the perception about gaming and societal stereotypes. It provides students who may not otherwise join a school sport or club with connectivity to their school and a community of peers. 

What’s the plan for IH?
For the spring 2022 season, IHHS anticipates competing in one game and then growing the program to include more games and more Esport opportunities for the students of IHHS. 

 All games are rated for 13+ (Teen). Esport Ohio sanctions games. Like with movies there is a rating system applied to all video games.   They are called the ESRB (Entertainment Software Ratings Board).