Elanco

Eastern Lancaster County School District administrative offices.

When: School board meeting, Sept. 9.

What happened: Superintendent Bob Hollister announced interest in offering competitive esports at Garden Spot High School as an after-school activity.

Background: Originally popularized on the West Coast, the North American Scholastic Esports Federation began offering East Coast schools an opportunity to implement competitive gaming as an after-school activity. La Academia, a Lancaster city-based charter school, established its own esports club in fall 2018, becoming the first local school to do so. Now, one year later, esports has grown into a countywide trend with about 130 students competing in at least 13 active clubs.

Details: Esports is a form of virtual competition, facilitated through video games for students to play for free. Club competition is team-based, pitting groups of 12 players — six starters and six alternates — against one another in an intramural, regional or even international capacity.

Why it’s important: Amid a recent popularity boom, students have earned athletic scholarships and multimillion-dollar prizes through competitive gaming, Hollister said. Additionally, because esports is considered a science, technology, engineering and math activity, the district can apply for STEM grants to fund equipment and hardware.

What’s next: Hollister said the district will need to find computers, an adviser, a dedicated facility and some form of grant funding. He predicts this activity will be available as of the spring semester.