By Alyssa Dalley-Schofield
Midwest City Beacon
Students at Carl Albert High School are finding new opportunities to compete and earn scholarships.
The school started an esports program this past school year. Esports or electronic sports is a form of competition utilizing multiplayer video games. This sport consists of players and teams much like football, basketball and baseball.
Bo Bradshaw, a teacher and coach, served as the sponsor for the new esports team.
What started the program you may ask? Lenore Smith, an incoming junior, had a drive to make the program a reality at Carl Albert.
Smith has played on esports teams outside of school and decided to bring the idea to principal Kristin Goggans.
“She was just really persistent, and Ms. Goggans finally said like would there be anyone willing to sponsor this activity and I kind of threw my name out there and that’s kind of how the club got started,” said Bradshaw.
This type of sport provides opportunities for students, like Smith, who struggle from physical and mental illnesses.
“It’s an amazing way to make a sport accessible to everyone,” said Smith.
And it can help pay for college. Smith has received a full-ride scholarship to Boise State University for out-of-state tuition.
“My scholarship is for Overwatch which has a professional league like the NFL for football,” said Smith. “And Boise State is in the top 20 colleges for Overwatch.”
The team competed in “Super Smash Bros.” and “Rocket League.” Due to lack of materials, the team was limited to the game they could participate in.
Earlier this year, Carl Albert’s esports program was awarded a grant from the Midwest City Memorial Hospital Authority to purchase new computers.
“The kids were actually able to put together, we bought and we built, five PC’s and so next year that gaming list will be a lot longer,” said Bradshaw.
This new group brings students together and provides benefits for everyone involved according to Bradshaw. It also motivated students to get and maintain good grades in order to be a part of the team.
“The spring was our very first season and they did a really good job of representing Carl Albert,” said Bradshaw. “It motivated them (students) to get their grades up and I mean that was like four or five students that affect so it had a really positive impact on the school community so it’s been really exciting.”