Eddyville Charter School has a strong CTE presence, with Manufacturing and Construction and a growing culinary program. But those programs, while popular, were still missing the target audience of students who were not engaged. At the start of the 2023/24 school year, Eddyville launched an esports curriculum in middle and high school as an innovative way to bring unconnected students together and keep kids in school. “We’re reaching a type of kid that might not be involved in your traditional sports or extracurricular activities,” said Eddyville Principal Stacy Knudson got the esports program off the ground.
Esports is more than students just sitting around playing video games. Organized gaming helps students develop soft skills like team-building and communication, and can improve attendance, academic performance and social and emotional well-being for students who struggle to feel connected at school. It is giving them one class to be excited about,” said Mike Ulsted, Eddyville math and esports teacher.
“It also exposes them to future careers.” The eventual goal is for the esports teams to compete in OSA sanctioned competitions which can also lead to college scholarships and career opportunities for students. Skills used in video games can translate to careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), like coding, cybersecurity, computer programming, broadcasting, graphic arts, mechatronics, and more. For more information on Eddyville’s esports curriculum, go to www.gamingconcepts.gg.