West Branch eSports Team in the Making

An eSports program is coming to West Branch in October.


Image/Graphics by Tan

West Branch Area School District is creating an eSports classroom for interested students.

At a grade level meeting on Friday, August 26th, High School Principal Mrs. O’Hare announced that West Branch has a new electronic sports (eSports) classroom and team in the works. The administration is preparing the eSports classroom, which will be ready for use in October and located in the former high school tech office.

While attending a Pennsylvania School Conference, Superintendent Michelle Dutrow accepted the proposed idea of developing an eSports team. She thought it was a good idea for students to participate in a new activity especially knowing that many of our students game outside school hours. Creating the eSports classroom/lab will be directed by Mrs. Michelle Dutrow, Mrs. Brandy O’Hare, and Mr. Mark Mitchell. Students will receive an interest survey, and the administration hopes there will be enough students to create two teams. Team One will meet Monday and Wednesday, while Team Two will meet Tuesday and Thursday. This way, each team will have an equal ratio of students to computers. With one-on-one gaming computers, students will have more opportunities to play and make gaming setups.

West Branch’s eSports program will take place after school. Students will have time to game but also receive help with schoolwork. Any student in grades 9-12 can join, but those with experience in gaming are more likely to be accepted. The games included so far are Fortnite, Rocket League, Overwatch, and Super Smash Bros. During spring, the Inner-District competition will begin. Next year, the West Branch eSports team can participate in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic E-sports Association (PIEA) statewide competitions.

Mrs. Dutrow encourages students to come out and participate. It is an opportunity for kids to have fun playing video games while interacting with other students and a chance to improve grades by being able to study and get help from teachers or classmates. “It’s important for any school to be looking to evolve and try new things,” Mrs. Dutrow said. The eSports team will not only be formed as a new and exciting activity for students but also because college eSports teams and scholarships are available options for students pursuing a career in the eSports area following graduation.