New E-Sports club gets under way Monday with call-out meeting

Lauren Molenda, Editor

Gamers at MHS now have the opportunity to share their love for video games through the new E-Sports team. 

E-Sports has recently trickled down the college and high school level, allowing gamers to collaborate through organized video game competitions both individually and as teams. Computer Science teacher and head of the Business Department Mr. Andrew Niksich has taken charge of this new addition, and is excited to offer this opportunity to MHS students.

“Mr. Stamper initially came to me expressing an interest in starting an E-Sports club here at Merrillville High School,” Mr. Niksich said. “Together, we feel that it is a much needed venue for our students. The last two or so years have been difficult for them during this pandemic, and we think this is going to be a healthy outlet for a lot of kids who have felt the impact physically, emotionally, mentally throughout all of this.”

Members of the club will have access to a variety of games including Chess, Tetris, Magic the Gathering, Super Smash Bros Ultimate, NBA 2K22, Mario Kart, and Fortnite. They will be able to play both for leisure and for competition.

“This year is more exploratory to see if there’s a demand,” Mr. Niksich said. “I’ve assembled a group of teachers who are willing and able to volunteer their time after school for these kids, and not only is it good for our students, but it’s good for our staff as well.”

Mr. Niksich has heard the negative controversy surrounding video games, but insists that gaming provides students with benefits both academically and socially.

“The Head Coach of the E-Sports team at Purdue Northwest, Justin Bragg, is coming to speak to the students at the call-out meeting and let them know what opportunities are out there for them,” Mr. Niksich said. “This will educate the kids on where this can take them and how to get to the next level as gamers. I want the kids, along with our teaching staff and administrators, to realize that there are positive outcomes and even scholarship opportunities for our gamers.”

They will be holding their first call-out meeting this upcoming Monday, Jan. 31 after school in the Freshman Lecture Hall. Mr. Niksich encourages any students interested in this organization to stop by and try their hand at E-Sports.

“This is an opportunity to expand your horizons and an opportunity to network with people you may have never talked to in this building,” Mr. Niksich said. “We are a large school with a very diverse community, and we’re going to provide a welcoming environment. I hope this will bring joy to our students and make their days a little brighter, and that this adds some value to their journey on planet Earth.”