UVA esports team members in the Lynx Den

It’s game on for the esports team at University View Academy (UVA). For the past eight weeks, esports team members have competed against other schools and organizations across Louisiana. Seven UVA students competed against hundreds of other participants and advanced to the top ten in their divisions. They will now compete in the national playoffs for five different games. 

Esports at UVA involves the use of competitive gaming to engage students. What started as a leisure club for students to socialize has grown into a fully-fledged competitive team. There are three playing seasons comprised of six weeks each that are divided between the fall, spring, and summer. Students can compete in single or multiplayer games. Sometimes students bring their own regional tournaments to the club sponsor’s attention, while other times the UVA team is invited to join by larger regional or even national leagues.

Students do not need to be skilled gamers or involved in competitions to join the club. There are several members who join simply to have fun with their peers. The only requirement is that students maintain good grades and attendance in their classes. 

The esports club is the passion project of club sponsor Adrieanne Moliere. Moliere started the club during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to help her students socialize and stay engaged during the challenging time.

“Kids for the majority of their time today are online,” Moliere said. “That’s how they make friends. And a virtual club lent itself to a virtual school.” 

In addition to competitive gaming, Moliere also utilizes “scholastic esports,” or the use of games to reinforce classroom learning. She has helped students use Minecraft to act out the lives of historical figures and Tetris to illustrate the importance of foundational math. For Moliere, esports is about using what students enjoy to teach marketable skills. 

“One student actually made an eight-week course module with assessments so parents of club members could learn how to use Minecraft alongside their kids,” Moliere shared.  “His mom loved that. It’s a way for kids to come out of their shells.” 

The recent opening of the UVA Lynx Den gave the esports team a place to meet in person. The Lynx Den includes a state of the art gaming section, and Moliere now serves as the full-time esports coordinator at UVA. Club members meet virtually up to three times a week for practice, but can now also meet weekly in person at the Lynx Den.

The opening of the Lynx Den was a milestone for the UVA esports team, but Moliere envisions even more advancements on the horizon. She is working to develop an “Introduction to Esports” course at UVA and an official esports career pathway approved by the Louisiana Department of Education. She wants to expose her students to the various careers available through esports. Careers include not only game design and development but also growing fields such as esports journalism and esports psychology. 

“Esports is a way to ramp up what students are interested in,” Moliere said. “Broadcast skills, arts, and audio/visual – esports can be integrated into all of that. It encourages versatility.” 

As UVA works to understand, engage, and empower each unique student for a career, for college, and beyond, we are pleased to offer such an innovative opportunity to our students. We wish good luck to all students competing in the playoffs this week and look forward to many advancements to come. 

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