West Vigo plans after-school intramural eSports team
By Sue Loughlin | Tribune-Star
Nov 16, 2023
West Vigo High School plans to start an after-school intramural eSports team thanks to a grant from the Vigo County Education Foundation.
West Vigo was one of 19 schools benefiting from $35,365 in school-wide grants distributed Friday during the VCEF Business and Bagels program at Terre Haute North Vigo High School.
Esports, or electronic sports, involves competitive, organized video gaming.
Esports is growing in popularity, and it’s a way to involve students who may not participate in other school activities, said Ryan Easton, high school principal.
“Mental health, grades, attendance and behavior all improve when having a sense of belonging and connection,” he said. “This will hopefully be that connection that so many of our students need.”
He distributed a survey in school, and among students who responded, 30% had a interest in eSports.
“It’s a no brainer,” Easton said. “If I can get that one student to want to come to school that day, if I can get that one student to not worry about what’s going on at home, we’re doing our job.”
The team will be coached by media specialist Jamie Young.
For those who play eSports, it’s been shown to improve cognitive skills, problem solving, decision-making, teamwork and communication, he said.
Some students played informally last year at the school, and “there was an overwhelming response,” Young said. Students who had never spoken to each other were competing and “high-fiving each other.”
It created “a very strong sense of community,” Young said.
The grant will allow the school to purchase equipment and expand from one game set up so that multiple games can be going at once.
For some of the kids, it’s their first chance to be on a team. “You can’t put a price-tag on that,” Young said.
Business and Bagels, which takes place twice a year, provides the community with an update about the impact the education foundation is having to enhance learning and teaching in the Vigo County School Corp.
The grants have a school-wide impact, said Jane Nichols, executive director of the foundation. Some of the activities funded include school visits by authors, collaborative engineering to create a business and the performance of musical theatre.
It’s a way for the community to see “some of the exciting, engaging ways that principals and teachers are inspiring kids and trying to enrich their learning,” Nichols said.
Terre Haute North Vigo High School received a grant for a collaborative engineering and entrepreneurship venture. In the project, students create products that are sold on a website.
A grant to Franklin Elementary for its book vending machine program was supported by a Rose-Hulman Institute of Technnology “Give up a meal” (GUAM) program.
In that program, Rose-Hulman students donate meal swipes and declining balances at the end of the quarter; 179 people donated for a total of $3,000.
The foundation’s Leadership Giving Award went to Pat Minnis, a former member of the education foundation’s board of directors.
She established the Joe Minnis Memorial Fund at the education foundation to honor her late husband, Joe Minnis, who served for 12 years on the Vigo County School Board and volunteered for many years on the education foundation board of directors.
Those funds go toward career-technology education projects.
Pat Minnis told those assembled that Friday would have been Minnis’ 87th birthday.
Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue