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North Decatur Esports building friendships, improved grades

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

Students compete in various video game competitions

(GREENSBURG, Ind.) -- North Decatur is in their second year of having an Esports team.

The program allows students to compete against other schools, and each other, in various video games.

Program organizers say its much more than video games as it puts a focus on teamwork, critical thinking, and creating a space for kids of all interests in school.

"I can't tell you how many teachers have stopped us and said keep doing what you're doing because it's helping. These kids never spoke up in class and now their asking questions," said Esports coach Chris Lindroth.

Freshman Arden Gunn says she loves playing video games and the program has helped build new friendships.

"Previously it seemed like people in my grade didn't like gaming and I didn't know how to connect with them and now I do," Gunn said.

Senior Colton Henchman used to play football but quit due to the the threat of injury and says Esports fills the competitive void.

Meanwhile, sophomore James Lindroth has experienced improved grades and better attendance since the program began.

Esports is a year-round program with a season in the fall and another during the second semester. Students get the opportunity to not only compete but to also get involved in graphic design and STEAM-related assignments

Coach Lindroth says a major obstacle last year was improving the attitudes of the kids when they lost a game.

"You never lose when you play by yourself at home so they had to learn how to lose. We had to teach them not to be sore losers. A lot of bad attitudes last year but this year we have a lot of good attitudes," Lindroth said.

Competitive gaming also allows schools to build community for kids who would have traditionally fell through the cracks.

"It's given them somebody to sit with at lunch when they didn't have that before. I really encourage other schools to give this a chance and reach the kids where they're at," Lindroth said.

"I also truly appreciate our principal Debbie Reynolds, as well as Dr. Jarrod Burns, for supporting this program," the coach added.


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