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New Ohio STEAM School Offers Students A Pathway To A Career In Esports

Xenia’s soon-to-open STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) school is planning a $10 million renovation of the old YMCA building on East Church Street to include drone and robotics labs, a rock climbing gym, a Makerspace, and an esports arena. The project includes $4 million in renovations and a $6 million, 24,000-square-foot expansion. Community Steam Academy-Xenia is also partnering with Kettering-based esports compound Vyral, to create the school’s esports program, complete with powerful PCs built by students, that will be capable of supporting graphic design, 3D-modeling software, and animation.

“Some people say that esports is, ‘oh, you’re just encouraging them to play video games more,’” said Dr. Jeremy Ervin, Founder of the program. “Esports is an equity game, for those who don’t have a predisposition to normal athletics. They’re still building skills, playing on a team, forming an identity. We have an agile curriculum because it’s relevant to the community we’re in. If this were a school in Cleveland, for example, we may not have a biotech pathway. We tailor it to what the students need and link it with the needs of the community. Our students need to be aware that they can make a difference.”

Students will get exposed to the various “pathways” to graduation, including drone operation and maintenance, graphic design, entrepreneurship, robotics, culinary arts, and more. Coursework also will include a “biotech” pathway, to address the high demand for healthcare professionals in the local area. The school plans to place an emphasis on the dignity of trades and finding students careers where it’s not necessary to go to college.

The school will begin classes in fall 2022, with grades 6-10. CSA-Xenia is a tuition-free public school open to any student in the state. The school plans to expand to host grades 11-12 in the next few school years, then will eventually host grades K-5. Over the course of the next four years, CSA-Xenia hopes to expand its enrollment to 1,200 students.

(All information was provided by Government Technology)

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