CMS Takes Action to Recognize Esports as a Sport

Story by Maximilian Poku-Kankam, Staff Writer

Imagine watching Twitch at home, seeing the Esports teams play against each other in different video games. All of the excitement in the arena, the tense atmosphere, the happiness after winning the match. 

Now you can be part of that here at East Meck. 

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has partnered with Stiegler EdTech to start the first ever Varsity Esports and STEM League. They have opened up a division where students are able to make their own Esports teams. 

Students at East Meck have already started to plan and get ready for Esports and STEM competitions against rival schools.

Stiegler EdTech started this program to give students unique opportunities and educational ways to learn about the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) industry. Students will be able to practice different parts of STEM as well.

Seniors Kevin Machuca Oliu and Howard Boyd have already been very active in starting East Meck’s team. They were the ones that found out about it and pitched it to the now-adviser for the school team, Kevin Meegan.

Both Machuca and Boyd want to get into STEM or Esports when they grow up. “I think I would want to be a part of an Esports team,” Machuca Oliu said. “This league will help me get opportunities for that.”

Boyd and Machuca Oliu immediately started to plan out ways to practice with other kids and tried to make the Esports team get publicity at East Meck.  

“There are so many games that we could have an Esports team for each game, and then we’d all be able to practice the games we are good at,” Boyd said. “I mean, we can make a team for Call of Duty, CSGO, Overwatch, and Rocket League.”

After the Oct. 13 tryouts, both Boyd and Machuca Oliu were excited about the future of their league. According to Machuca Oliu, they held tryouts and had enough players come out to make two four-person teams for Rocket League, a race car soccer game. Machuca Oliu plays Rocket League a lot, so he was very excited that the first game that the East Meck Esports team would be playing would be one he is already good at.

Each of the games named by Boyd is famous game that have been played by millions of people. According to Games Industry, Epic Games released an announcement that the Fortnite World Cup in 2019 had a peak of 2.3 million concurrent viewers, which is the highest viewership of any Esports tournament outside of China. Counter Strike: Global Offensive is the oldest game named, and still has millions of fans worldwide. 

Stiegler EdTech recognizes how important video games and esports have become in teenagers’ lives and has found a way to make it so that kids can get scholarships because of it.

All around the world, kids tune in to Esports leagues and watch them worldwide.  Famous Twitch Streamers like Ninja, TimtheTatman, and others have inspired kids to chase their dreams of playing video games professionally. 

Playing video games professionally can also pay lots of money. Prize pools extend to millions of dollars, and players get sponsorships from companies when they get high viewership. Stiegler EdTech is trying to help give kids the opportunity to become professional gamers and get the same amount of money as other streamers. But they don’t only focus on video gaming.

Stiegler EdTech also helps kids become knowledgeable in STEM. The company 

has opened a program called Youth Technology Apprenticeship Cohort, which is described as a free virtual experience for students to earn money by learning STEM that is interesting for them. 

Stiegler EdTech has been entering kids in competitions for different forms of STEM for quite some time. They instruct teenagers on different types of STEM such as coding, game development and digital media. They have instructors come to help teach the kids about each of these forms and hold competitions with rewards for the teenagers that have grown the most in those fields. This makes the Esports league that more appealing. 

“Stiegler is giving children opportunities that they didn’t have before to get into college and study what they want,” Machuca Oliu said.