Esports is thriving in Pennsylvania schools, building skills and community

HARRISBURG, PA — Esports, the world of competitive video gaming, is growing rapidly and making its mark on schools across Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Scholastic Esports League (PSEL), led by the Chester County Intermediate Unit, is a supporter of this movement. On May 28, PSEL celebrated its Spring 2024 State Champions at Harrisburg University.

Esports has evolved from small tournaments to a multi-billion dollar global industry. It attracts millions of viewers and now promotes valuable skills in students. Schools like Downingtown Area School District (DASD) have been crucial in this growth. Christopher Groff, a DASD teacher, emphasized the positive impact. “Esports at school teaches students that it is an activity where you can be positive, healthy and respectful. It demonstrates soft skills such as problem solving, collaboration, communication and teamwork.”

Students agree. Carter Novelenski, a DASD student, shared his experiences. “I have learned to improve my communication. Playing required us to coordinate and communicate effectively to win. This has really improved my communication skills.”

The final day started with a career panel on professional esports opportunities. The championship games then featured top Pennsylvania middle and high school teams competing for state titles. Owen J. Roberts High School competed in High School Rocket League and Great Valley High School in High School Chess.

The following schools were crowned PSEL state champions:

  • High School Rocket League: Southern Lehigh High School
  • High School Rocket League: Owen J. Roberts High School
  • High School Valorant: Moreland Junior High School
  • High school chess: Great Valley High School
  • High school chess: Pine Grove area high school
  • United Rocket League: Pine Grove Area High School

Despite being less than five years old, these scholastic esports programs are already showing significant benefits. Students from public, private, charter and cyber schools in Pennsylvania develop teamwork and perseverance.

Kaiye Obiri of Governor Mifflin School District commented, “Joining the esports team has given me more opportunities to interact with people, make new friends and enjoy my high school experience.”

Kammas Kersch, director of PSEL and CCIU STEM coordinator, expressed his excitement about the future. “The diversity of schools represented shows the limitless potential of scholastic esports. PSEL has experienced rapid growth since our founding in 2020 and we are excited to see these programs shaping students for future success in collegiate esports and professional careers.”

Esports in Pennsylvania schools isn’t just a game; it is an opportunity for students to build essential skills and create lasting connections. For more information about the Pennsylvania Scholastic Esports League, visit

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