FHC eSports Receive $392,000 in Scholarships

Posted on 05/23/2019
FHC eSports Players Receive $392,000 in Scholarships

Gaming isn’t just an after-school hobby anymore. Organized, competitive video game playing, or eSports, is on the rise. So are the number of college scholarships. At the professional level, eSports is a billion dollar a year industry. Games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, and League of Legends can be a viable career path for some students. Total winnings for a single game at the professional level have hit as high a $4 million.

After touring a college campus and visiting a robust eSports program that included students on scholarship, Francis Howell Central School Counselor Kris Miller saw an opportunity for an underrepresented population of students. “When I found out that scholarships were available, I thought we would be negligent if we didn’t try and organize this community and help students earn those scholarships,” said Miller. After talking with some students to gauge interest, FHC’s eSports Club was spawned.

MSHSSA doesn’t recognize eSports as an official activity yet, but the conversation has started to change. “I decided when I started the program to have eligibility requirements as if we were MSHSSA sanctioned,” said Miller. “Hopefully, my eSports students can substantially impact the future for other students, because it will give them more opportunities after high school due to improved attendance and grades.”

In total, the seniors of FHC’s eSports Club have received $392,000 in scholarship offers. Senior Tanner Elliot is among the students, receiving a combined total offer of $68,000 from seven different schools. “When I first joined the eSports Club, there was zero thought in my head that colleges actually take players and give them money to play for their school,” said Elliot. “I’ve been playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive since seventh grade and I never once thought I’d be getting offers from around America to play for their team.” Senior George Schlotzhauer received a $4,000 scholarship from Central Methodist just for eSports and will be attending there in the fall. “I know without this club, I never would have even seen Central Methodist,” said Schlotzhauer. “I got to meet their Assistant Coach, Aaron. It’s really helped me be a leader on a team and really learn about how it works to help people improve.”

While joining eSports seems like an easy excuse to play video games after school, these students are serious. “Tuesdays are more for personal development,” said Schlotzhauer. “It’s a good time for some of our higher players to explain more advanced concepts to some of our subs and lower players to help them out.”  Thursdays are dedicated to reviewing vods (recordings of gameplay). Talk is extremely serious and analytical. Evaluating everything from sight lines, viewpoints, tactical advantages, rotational hazards, and character disadvantages, the conversations frankly point out where players could have improved or should have tried a different approach. “It’s like any other sport,” said Elliot. “It takes dedication, patience, and a lot of practice to be good.”

But gaming at school isn’t easy. Videos lag during review and most computers in the school can’t handle the graphics. “The school is in desperate need of 144-244 Hz monitors,” said Elliot. “We have been invited to a private tournament this summer and hope to bring home some new gear. If we win the tournament, we get to sponsor our school with new MSI Gaming PCs (6 of them), keyboards, mouses, and headsets.” Next year, the group plans to focus on fundraising to make some significant upgrades to their current equipment.

Live streaming of practices can be viewed on FHC eSport’s Twitch. The vods review during practices can be view on FHC eSport’s YouTube. The club also posts regular updates on their Twitter account, @FHCEsportsClub.

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