Program Spotlight – Walker High
“It was very challenging during the Fall semester. Challenging for the fact that I had a team of kids that I rarely saw and had to make sure that they were doing their jobs.” Walker High School’s first semester in esports was a rocky introduction.
Chris Price now oversees his students’ practice within the school’s mint gaming lab. Despite only having had access to this dedicated practice environment for a few months now, each of the program’s teams in Super Smash Bros., Rocket League, and Halo has finished either Top 7 statewide or Top 15 nationwide this semester.
The program clearly moves fast. “I was both shocked and surprised by the immediate decision to name me Director of Esports,” Price remembers.
Principal St. Pierre had sent out a GroupMe message to staff saying, “We are starting an esports team next year, let me know if you are interested in coaching/sponsoring the team.” A rather unremarkable story, but it exhibits a hopeful trend: whereas starting an esports program was once a battle of convincing administrators that esports was worth investing in, perhaps such obstacles are diminishing because of schools like Walker High and its innovative staff.
“Again, my principal has given our program the jumpstart that most schools are not able to receive,” Price confirms. “When he has a clear vision for our students, he [is] 1000% determined to make it possible.”
Despite the school’s success, Price does meet parents who are not yet on board with the concept of esports. He responds to them with an overarching look at the scene’s value and stability, from the realities of college scholarships to the possibilities of going pro. “I do have one student who has competitive gaming experience,” he says. “His name is Brinin David […] He really has what it takes to become a star player on the collegiate level.”
Walker High’s school motto is, appropriately: “Where opportunities today mean success tomorrow….” Price’s buoyant opinion of the school’s esports program echoes this motto. “I know that this is a great opportunity for them [to] write their own story and become successful,” he says. “A program to help with a student’s social interaction, but most importantly, to make them feel included and appreciated.”