YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Youngstown City School District will be starting an esports team this coming school year.
The East High School Golden Bears ESports team will be co-ed.
It will be based at East but open to students at any of the city’s high schools in grades nine through 12.
“We believe students will work hard academically to qualify for a spot on our team,” said Charles Stark, a 10th-grade geometry teacher at East and the district’s esports program developer. “It gives a traditionally underserved group of scholars a reason to come to school and prioritize their education.”
Just like the other sports programs, students must meet academic and attendance requirements to be able to participate.
Twenty-eight students will be on the team for the first year. All will be given team jerseys.
There’s also no cost to join the team.
“Esports teams provide students a valuable gateway to top post-secondary institutions and career opportunities in a variety of fields,” said Josh Knutson, director of Esports and Virtual Reality Solutions at ByteSpeed, LLC, the company the district is buying esports equipment from. “Today, over 200 colleges and universities offer nearly $15 million annually in scholarships for esports athletes.”
The team will be part of Esports Ohio, which consists of high schools across the state.
Members will compete in four games: Rocket League, Fortnite, Super Smash Bros. and Overwatch.
Most of the competitions are online, so travel will be limited. Any required traveling will include transportation.