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U of W presents EDHS’s new esports team with $1000 donation


by Sylene Argent

For around a year, a handful of students at Essex District High School (EDHS) have been busy creating a new esports team. So far, the new team has been met with success and nods of approval, including from the University of Windsor, which provided a $1000 donation on Friday.

  The EDHS esports team is believed to be the only official club in the region at the secondary school level, and perhaps even beyond.

  Damon Proctor, who is one of the around 30 students on the newly formed EDHS esports team, said the students get together a few times a week to play in the new esports same room at the local high school. The students are broken up into sub teams that focus on games like Fortnite, Super Smash Bros., Rocket League, NHL, and Overwatch; on their respective gaming systems.

  Early on, Proctor said the students who wanted to get involved with the team participated in a tryout by bringing their own computers to school. Judges from St. Clair assessed the hopefuls.

  The games room at EDHS was implemented around a year ago. To get it ready for student use, last year’s Grade 11 Leadership Students visited stores and businesses to see if anyone was able to give a deal on needed equipment and electronics.

  The biggest donation for the games room came from the Greater Essex County District School Board, which provided the students with a $2500 grant. Six students worked on the grant application.

   “It has been more than I thought it would be,” Proctor said. “It is a fun place for students.” He added the game room is open to all students throughout the day, and the teams meet after school to practice for tournaments.

  “It doesn’t matter the skill level, [students] can just come out to play,” he added.

  EDHS’s esports team has participated in three tournaments to date, which is usually against college students. Sometimes there is prize money up for grabs. Proctor said it is hoped other high schools start their own official clubs so they can compete against each other in the future.

  On Friday, during a celebratory pizza luncheon, EDHS’s esports team welcomed Paul Meister, a chemistry PHD student, and Chris Houser, Dean of Science, from the University of Windsor. The duo from the local university presented the new team with a $1000 donation.

  Houser said the University of Windsor is currently building its own esports program, which will be an extracurricular. To his knowledge, this will be the first esports team affiliated with a university. St. Clair College already has one.

  He said there is interest at the University in an esports program from first year undergrad students to those who are working towards their PHD.

  The University of Windsor wanted to provide the $1000 donation to the EDHS esports team to show support just as it supports robotic teams. He said under the esports banner, students learn a lot of skills that are needed at the university level, such as communication, critical thinking, and collaboration. The University, he said, wants to have a connection with the EDHS team as it continues to build its own program.

  PHD chemistry student Meister said getting involved with esports is a great way for students to interact. When the esports club was started in September at the University, he said 150 joined up immediately.  

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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