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GRB’s Early College High School Program Powers Up Futures in Esports

Nearly two dozen students from Fulton’s G. Ray Bodley High School recently traveled to ELITE Gaming Arena in Syracuse to discuss the possibility of a career in esports. The presentation was one of many offered to students as part of the school’s Early College High School IT Program, which allows participants to earn college credits before graduation.

“The program provides many different opportunities in the area of IT for students,” said Ann Peterson, one of the Early College High School program’s supervisors. “It lets students get ideas of what’s available.”

Now in its fifth year, the program partners with local organizations to keep information technology students aware of career trends and possibilities. A similar program at GRB caters to students exploring the health sciences.

The recent presentation brought IT students to ELITE Gaming Arena to learn more about the quickly growing and lucrative field of electronic sports. The billion-dollar esports industry offers unique opportunities for soon-to-be graduates, many of whom already participate in online streaming and competitive video gaming.

A presentation from Herkimer College underscored the value of the career path, highlighting the benefits of their esports Management Program and the competitive leagues the school participates in. Many schools – like Herkimer – now offer competitive video gaming as an alternative to traditional college athletics. GRB recently began a high school program of its own.

“There’s a value in connecting esports to their education,” said Sean Broderick, the Early College High School program director and Boys Varsity Basketball Coach. “It creates teamwork. It’s collaboration. It’s building relationships. All those things. That’s really the definition of a student athlete.”

Sophomore Collin Firenze was one of the students in attendance who was quick to consider how an esports program might fit into his future career plans.

“Esports management and participating in actual competitive leagues,” he began, “would at least be an extremely great hobby to do. And with a business degree? Business is one of the things along with IT that I’m most interested in going into in college. Obviously we’re still sophomores in high school and we still have two years to think about it, but that’s what’s been highest on my list.”