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Abby K-12 discusses possibility of esports

Abby K-12 discusses possibility of esports Abby K-12 discusses possibility of esports

There could be a new potential new sport coming to the Abbotsford School District, but it won’t involve a net, a track or even a ball.

The Abbotsford board of education discussed the idea an entirely new extracurricular activity Monday, with the possible addition of an “esports” team.

Esports is a term for competitive online video gaming, which is one of the fastest growing sports in the country, with several teams and conferences already competing in the state of Wisconsin.

Schools across the state host tournaments and have conferences and compete during the fall and spring. The sport even has an official organization — the Wisconsin High School Esports Association (WIHSEA).

Network administrator Jesse Meddaugh discussed a recent trip to North Technical College that he and maintenance supervisor Mason Rachu made, when they saw the virtual arena where NTC’s esports team competes.

“We would need to start small, baby steps I think, but . . . it is an evolving sport that deserves more credit,” Meddaugh said.

Other campuses have become more welcoming to competitive gaming as well, with Lakeland University in Sheyboygan recently adding esports to its list of varsity athletic offerings in 2020. Some universities are even offering academic scholarships for esports.

Superintendent Sherry Baker noted that the possibility of an esports team is merely in the discussion stage and an actual team would take time to develop. She said it’s impossible at this point to set a timetable for when a team will actually compete for Abbotsford.

But Baker was optimistic about the positive benefits of a potential esports team, the main benefit being that an esports team might encourage more students to become actively involved.

“Engagement is what we are looking for,” Baker explained during a phone interview. “Video games have been around for a long time — they’re not going away.”

Baker was quick to note that an esports team would not take the place of any varsity sport, but that it would supplement a students’s overall experience.

“This isn’t something that’s going to supplant a sport or physical activity,” Baker said. “It’s just another option and we have to be cognizant of new developments and changes — which come in all formats.”

Other business

_ The board accepted the resignations of Kira Kalepp as a teacher’s aide and Michelle Kind as an assistant bookkeeper.

_ The board passed a motion approving Heather Kulas and Morgan Geiger as teacher’s aides for Jena Elmhorst’s classroom. The board also approved the hiring of Carry Bellanti as the JV2 boys basketball coach.

_ The board to set the 2021 graduation date for Saturday, May 22, 2021. The board also made a motion to approve the 2020-21 academic calendar.