Oskaloosa High School will soon launch its new Esports program, an initiative aimed at bringing together students with a passion for gaming and providing them with a structured and competitive platform.
The winter season will focus on the popular game Overwatch 2 which is set to kick off with its first official game on December 5. The team is led by Coach Connor Frederick, who is enthusiastic about the opportunities the program offers students.
“Esports is not just about playing video games. It’s about critical thinking, teamwork, and communication,” Frederick said. “It provides a space for our students who might not be involved in traditional school activities to come together, build connections, and engage in a hobby they are passionate about.”
The team comprises 28 students. Xavier Edwards, one of the players, who expressed his excitement about being part of the program.
“Esports gives me a reason to play video games,” said Xavier Edwards, one of the team’s new members. “It’s a refreshing way to collaborate with others, learn teamwork, and enjoy a different kind of competition.”
The Esports lab, equipped with repurposed and new computers, will serve as the central hub for practices and competitions. The flexible practice schedule accommodates students involved in other activities, allowing them to seamlessly integrate Esports into their routines.
Aaron Greene, Technology Support Specialist, emphasized the school’s commitment to providing the necessary resources.
“We have repurposed computers and invested time and effort into creating a dedicated space for Esports,” said Aaron Greene, Technology Support Specialist for Oskaloosa Schools. “Our goal is to ensure students have a top-notch environment to practice and compete.”
The Iowa High School Esports Association currently offers a fall, winter, and spring season. Osky’s first season will be during the winter, competing against schools like Abraham Lincoln High School, Waukee High School, and Thomas Jefferson High School, among others. Osky can play one competitive game during this initial season, after which the probation will be lifted.
“Esports is a legitimate and worthy endeavor,” said Frederick. “It can be a pathway to scholarships, potential careers in gaming, and even connections with collegiate programs.”
Oskaloosa Esports matches will be streamed on YouTube and Twitch, providing a platform for student broadcasting and commentary. Oskaloosa Video Production students will be providing the play-by-play commentary. Oskaloosa High School joins the growing community of schools participating in Esports in Iowa, with the potential to create a direct pipeline to collegiate programs like the newly established Esports program at William Penn University and existing programs at each Iowa Regents University.