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Play and Learn Through Esports

By Anahi Velasco
Director of Communications
12/21/2021 at 10:18 AM

Esports are booming, and students in Moreno Valley are excited to not just play the games but to pursue related careers. To support this thirst for competition and education, Moreno Valley Unified School District has just become an affiliate of the North America Scholastic Esports Federation. NASEF will provide free tournaments, programs, curriculum, and expertise to help scholastic esports grow and thrive in Moreno Valley. 

NASEF leverages massive student interest in team-based competitive video gaming, offering meaningful career and STEM education alongside tournaments. Students learn about possible career pathways, enter Beyond the Game creative and analytic challenges, manage clubs and events and fundraising, and compete in tournaments in popular titles including but not limited to: Super Smash Bros., Rocket League, and Minecraft, to name a few. 

“Esports is a popular new field that is creating entertainment, business and employment opportunities,” said Dr. Martinrex Kedziora, Superintendent of Moreno Valley Unified School District. “Fifteen of our schools have established esports programs since August. We are the first school district in our local county and state to have all high schools and middle schools with esports programs. We also have three elementary school esports clubs, which is not common in other districts. We look forward to continuing to grow our programs.”

“The response has been incredible,” said Peter Whitmore, the district’s esports coordinator. He and Josh Combs of the district’s Technology, Innovation and Assessment department helped initiate the district-wide esports program in June of this year. 

“We’ve even partnered with our Visual and Performing Arts and Career Technical Education programs,” stated Combs. “We want to fully engage any student interested in esports-related college and career pathways.”

The district’s vision is to create and foster esports programs through the lens of academics and learning in all grade levels by providing assistance, organizing tournaments, and presenting information to schools and advisers. 

“We are excited to see all our students embark on this new journey with us,” said School Board President Cleveland Johnson. “We all try our best to support students and their interests, and are proud of what we have accomplished.”

NASEF offers a unique focus on diversity with an emphasis on cultivating talents in potentially underserved populations and providing a pathway to college scholarships and careers in the gaming industry.  

“Research demonstrates the effectiveness of esports as a tool for meaningful STEM and social-emotional learning,” said Gerald Solomon, founder and executive director of NASEF. “We’re thrilled to have Moreno Valley Unified in the NASEF family, where educators will be able to learn best practices from other community networks with experience implementing scholastic esports programs. Of course, the students will be thrilled to take part in huge tournaments in popular games. We’re excited to support the district and see the growth across Moreno Valley in the coming years.” 

The Moreno Valley Unified School District hosted its first Esports Winter Tournament on Dec. 15 for the participating schools. 

Learn more at the NASEF website or the MVUSD website. Schools across MVUSD are invited to join NASEF and tap into their events and resources. To learn more, contact Peter Whitmore pwhitmore@mvusd.net

For more local news and information click here.

 

 

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