Bellwood School District looking to add an esports program

BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Bellwood-Antis School District may be looking to join the trend by adding an esports program to its district.

E-sports is short for electronic sports. It is usually played in individual competitions or in teams. Over 2,000 schools are partners of the High School Esports League.

District Superintendent Dr. Thomas McInroy said it was not something he would consider, but once he found out more details about the program he discovered the many benefits for students.

“It brings kids together under adult supervision, provides structure,” McInroy said. “Additionally, kids who might lose interest in school give them the opportunity to participate in a rewarding sports program.”

This proposed idea would be offered to students in grades 3-12 as an intramural program, with students advancing their skills as they age. McInroy described that this program would also allow students who do not participate in sports to have the opportunity to participate in a team activity.

High school principal Richard Schreier said they don’t plan to teach students technical skills. They seek to build on the skills students have already developed through playing games.

“It would give them an opportunity and a platform to exhibit those skills and work with others while building character, just like we encourage in our other after-school programs,” Schreier said.

McInroy also added that it would aim to steer kids away from social media negativity. He noted the recent trend of negative posts recently.

“We want them to be able to respect people and work together to come as a team to win at an event,” McInroy said. “So it would be some of those things, like you would at any sporting event.”

Currently, they are surveying students in grades 3-11 to find out their interest in the program. The results should fall in the next two to three weeks. If they pass this intramural program, they will look to build their team.

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The program is expected to cost around $5,000, but that could change. The school board should vote on the program, which will be done at the end of the year.

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