Skip to main content

Stockton University in Galloway Township, New Jersey played host to an esports spectacle that showcased the remarkable growth and participation in scholastic esports, with qualifying middle and high schools competing in the thrilling finals of Valorant, Smash Bros and Rocket League.

Chris Aviles, the president and founder of Garden State Esports, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting esports in scholastics, highlighted the steady increase in the number of middle and high school students engaging in gaming.

Aviles, an experienced English teacher at Keyport High School, pointed out that the organization is committed to creating opportunities for students who would otherwise not be able to participate in school sports.

The Garden State Esports program is partnered with approximately 55% of New Jersey school districts, with an impressive membership of 5,732 students, including over 1,000 who competed in the Championship.

Aviles recognized the challenges associated with pursuing a professional gaming career and stressed the importance of having a backup plan. "Esports is an excellent opportunity for high school students of all abilities and backgrounds to represent their schools while simultaneously developing leadership and technology skills."

The focus on esports careers has also grown at Stockton University, which recently announced it would offer a bachelor's degree program in esports management. This comprehensive program, set to launch in the fall, offers a range of educational opportunities, including business fundamentals, practical work experience, internships, and industry-specific training.

Last year, Stockton University's Rocket League team finished second at the Collegiate World Championship, proving that their competitive esports club is a force to be reckoned with. The club's program manager, Demetrious Roubos, emphasized the university's growing role as an anchor institution in the esports landscape, providing students with valuable transferable skills for technology-based careers.

The winners of the Garden State Esports Spring Championship were:

Valorant: Cherry Hill East High School

Cherry Hill East High School Valorant

Victoria Valorant: Mercer County Technical School

Mercer County Technical School Victoria Valorant

High School Smash: Union City High School

Union City High School Smash

Middle School Smash: Fernwood Middle School

Smash: Fernwood Middle School

High School Rocket League: Seneca High School

Rocket League: Kawameeh Middle School

Middle School Rocket League: Kawameeh Middle School

Rocket League: Seneca High School