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Game on: Edmonton’s Vimy Ridge Academy to offer Esports program

Click to play video: 'Edmonton school aims to help students with their esports aspirations' Edmonton school aims to help students with their esports aspirations
WATCH ABOVE: If your teen has a passion for video games, there's an Edmonton school that wants to help them hone their craft. Morgan Black explains – Apr 4, 2022

If your teen has an affinity for video games–an Edmonton school wants to help them hone their craft.

This fall, Vimy Ridge Academy plans to open a new program as a way to prepare students for future potential jobs in the video game industry.

Vimy Esports will be offered to students in grades 7 to 9 this September.

Esports are video games that are played in an organized competitive environment.

Read more: Ontario to set aside $1 million over 2 years for esports scholarship program

Those who enrol in the program will not be sitting on their couch playing games all day, the school stressed. The curriculum will be structured in order to provide student-athletes with career skills that will be highly sought after in the video game industry, as well as the tech sector as a whole.

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“These teams have nutritionists, psychologists. There are lots of careers in Esports,” said Travis Bouchard, director of the program.

“Maybe the Esports dream doesn’t happen, so we’re hoping to show them some career skills in the IT world.”

Bouchard said the billion-dollar industry also offers millions in scholarships to schools and there’s a potential for pro players to win millions.

“One of my favourite [Esports] games gave out $45 million in tournament winnings last year,” he said. “It’s a very robust professional league.”

Read more: USask computer scientist studying e-sports gamers’ ability to succeed or fail

Alberta Esports Association’s Andrew Tran said the program will also teach the same values as any other competitive sport.

“The core value of working together, how to handle winning or losing,” he said.

“You get the same competitive atmosphere. I think it’s a great opportunity for young kids to make friends and find people with similar interests.”

Tran said the program is an option he wishes he had as a kid.

“Being able to go to school and meet other kids with the same interests? Honestly, I’m jealous,” he laughed.

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Read more: eSports a growing market in Edmonton and abroad: ‘It’s the same caliber as a professional athlete’

The program will consist of practice time, game breakdowns and coaching to ensure player development. Students will also be required to take part in fitness sessions that focus on general fitness and injury prevention.

Mental health will also be a major focus, with students exploring how working as a team and communication skills go hand-in-hand with discussions of toxicity and burnout in the eSports world.

“There are skills to be developed, just like backward skating in hockey, and focused training can get you to a higher level,” Bouchard said.

Programming, computer engineering, level design, audio/visual design and broadcasting are also part of the eSports curriculum.

To register your child for the program, click here.

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