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Mount Vernon STEAM Academy E-Sports Club ‘a great outlet for many of our students’




The Mount Vernon STEAM Academy has been a high school in the city since 2018.

One of the unique after-school activities is the STEAM Knights E-Sports club. The program, with about 60 participants, began in October 2023 and is led by coach/advisors Ian Smith, a social studies teacher, and Peter Palij, a math teacher.

“E-sports is a really great way for students to come together after school and participate in a non-traditional sport because this is treated like a competitive sport,” Smith said.

Students team up and play against a team from another high school somewhere else in the country, most often on the East Coast, and they basically play in a competitive manner. They strategize, they communicate, they collaborate, and the results of their matches are recorded. Students have a chance to qualify for playoffs and a national-level tournament.

“For students who might not normally go for, you know, a traditional sport, this is a great outlet for many of our students,” Smith said.

Senior Zuri Jackson said, “I have never been active in video games like this, so being able to experience this kind of environment, collaborate with my teammates and work together to either plan a spike or to annihilate the other team is fun.  It’s just another way for students to coordinate with each other that builds a lot more communication skills.”

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