AMLE Announce Inaugural Esports League Champions

Columbus, OH — January 24, 2022 — The Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) and Vanta Leagues have announced three winning schools of the inaugural season of the Middle School Esports League, which provides AMLE member schools’ students with the opportunity to engage in structured video game competitions while building real-world skills. The winning schools are:

Hillcrest Middle School
Trumbull, Connecticut
Head Coach: Michaela Durand

Zion Lutheran School
Bethalto, Illinois
Head Coach: John Zilm

The schools will each receive a $500 prize to support their Esports programs. Beyond the prize money, the winning coaches report that the students benefited in other ways from the League. “It is really hard to put into words all the numerous positive outcomes that students got out of participating on an Esports team this past Fall,” said Coach Durand, “It provides our students with a place where they feel they belong, regardless of their background.  It created opportunities for students to learn leadership, sportsmanship, and have meaningful conversations around digital citizenship.  It also created relationships between our students and our coaches so that they had another opportunity to have a connection with a trusted adult in the building.” Coach Zilm agreed, adding, “I appreciated that it was a chance for students to enjoy fellowship in competition in a non traditional sport.  They learned to work together and respect each other, as there were some younger students with high level skills and older students who were novice players in some games.

The champion students found the League provided a fun, non-toxic atmosphere where they could play with friends, and find new ones from around the country. One student shared that, “It gives my talent for gaming some meaning in life.”  Coach Durand added that the League helped them connect with a different population of students who were not yet participating in other extra-curricular activities or traditional sports. A video snippet from the League showcases the energy and comradery the League evoked among the participants:

“AMLE is delighted to celebrate our inaugural league champions,” said Stephanie Simpson, CEO of AMLE, “As Esports increasingly become a part of young adolescents’ lives, it was important to us to show how schools could provide a safe venue for students to explore this interest while developing real-world skills like teamwork, communication, and critical thinking”

The Middle School Esports League is supported by Vanta Leagues and all matches take place on a safe, COPPA-compliant platform designed specifically to make gaming a fun and supported experience for kids. There is still time to register for the Spring League! Participation is free for AMLE member schools (as long as the school can provide an adult chaperone/coach). Learn more about the Middle School Esports League.