Schools give video games new legitimacy with growing esports leagues – Spartan Newsroom – Spartan Newsroom

Schools give video games new legitimacy with growing esports leagues – Spartan Newsroom – Spartan Newsroom

By NORA MOUGHARBEL
Capital News Service

LANSING — A growing number of Michigan high schools are getting in on the fun of esports.

More than 50 are registered with the Michigan High School Esports Federation, a nonprofit league created by educators in 2019. They join over 170 U.S. colleges and universities with varsity esports programs – including 18 in Michigan.

Esports is a term used to describe competitive, multiplayer, organized video gaming. 

East Kentwood High School students compete in the first round of the 2019 StateChamps! Esports Tournament at Lawrence Tech University.

Candace Byrnes

East Kentwood High School students compete in the first round of the 2019 StateChamps! Esports Tournament at Lawrence Tech University.

Southfield’s Lawrence Technological University was among the first in the state to embrace esports when it began hosting tournaments for high schools five years ago.

“It was a bit like pulling teeth trying to get these high schools to recognize what we were trying to do,” said Candace Byrnes, a Lawrence Tech graduate and State Champs Esports Show Host. “Esports has always been a thing nationally, but locally and statewide it struggled for a little bit to get any bit of funding or any adults really to be involved and recognize it as a positive thing,”

So what changed? 

Lori Flippin, the STEM initiative leader for the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance, a Freeland-based economic development agency that supports programs
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