Ottumwa Schools is excited to announce the expansion of their E-Sports program at Ottumwa High School, Gateway High School, and Evans Middle School with help from the Legacy Foundation Bright Ideas Community Enrichment Fund grant. The after-school program allows students to engage in competitive video gaming, connecting with their peers and building valuable teamwork skills. 

E-Sports, also known as electronic sports, is a form of competitive video gaming that is organized and played at the professional level. In Iowa, e-sports programs are typically offered by schools or other organizations as an after-school activity, allowing students to engage in competitive gaming with their peers. These programs often involve teams of students who compete against each other in various video games, with the goal of improving their skills and teamwork abilities. 

As part of the Ottumwa Community School District’s mission to inspire every student to think, learn, achieve, and care, they are committed to providing a diverse range of opportunities for our students to explore their interests. The E-Sports program is designed to appeal to students who may not currently participate in other activities at school, providing a sense of purpose and community. 

E-Sports programs in Iowa and elsewhere have gained popularity in recent years, as more people have become interested in competitive video gaming and the gaming industry has grown. These programs offer a range of benefits to students, including the opportunity to develop teamwork skills, social connections, and a sense of purpose. In addition, participating in e-sports may also open up opportunities for college scholarships and careers in the gaming industry. Players develop strong teamwork skills, strategic thinking abilities, and quick reflexes and they learn how to handle the pressure of competition and work well under stress. 

In recent years, there has been a steady rise in the mental health needs of students, and at Ottumwa Schools, they are focused on the wellness of our students, staff, and community. Students who are more connected with school tend to exhibit better behavior, attendance, and academic achievement. The E-Sports program not only helps foster social and emotional development, but it also provides a sense of belonging and helps students develop valuable job skills. 

Ottumwa Schools believes that this program has the potential to ignite passion in students who may not have previously felt connected to Ottumwa Schools, and we are committed to providing the resources necessary to help it thrive. 

Overall, the E-Sports program at Ottumwa Schools is all about student engagement, connection, and being a part of something bigger than themselves. They are excited to offer this opportunity to their students and look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on their growth and development.