Playing eSports pays off



Senior Brandon Samoylenko competes in an eSports event on campus.

Brian Chang, News Editor

Members of the Diamond Bar High School eSports Club have found a way to turn leisure into potential scholarships and volunteer hours.

The club was scouted by Menlo College, a private college in Silicon Valley that focuses on business. All of the club’s players were offered $25,000 a year in scholarship money if they attended the school.

“It’s near the Silicon Valley, which is very good for business,” senior president Elise Hou said. “The majors they offer are somewhat related to esports, like business marketing.”

The club also offers volunteer opportunities for members. The club partners with an organization called Gamers Outreach, which creates portable gaming consoles for children in hospitals to use. Members help build the consoles or play with the patients.

Hou, who has been with the club since its inception, helped the program grow by finding sponsorships from major organizations, including HyperX, the esports branch of computer producer Kingston Company.

These companies supply the club with equipment, such as mousepads, which members then use during competitions.

The club, which started two years ago, hosts tournaments with players from other schools. It has also put on other school events, such as the school’s first staff gaming fundraiser in February. Secretary and Program Coordinator Michelle Li said the club’s activities this year have been tailored to appeal to a wider audience.

“We try to provide events that are more inclusive than exclusive,” Li said. “In the past, it’s been targeted to the best players. Now it’s a very casual environment.”

As a part of its effort to include more students, Li said the club also aims to destigmatize gaming, which she said is “looked down upon” in academically-driven communities like at DBHS.

“There’s more to gaming than just sitting at home, locked away in your room. We want to show people if you’re really passionate about [esports] you can have a future in it,” Li said.

A recent fundraising event eSports club held was a staff gaming event on Feb. 22, where students were able to play games against faculty members, like physics teacher Angela Jensvold and class of 2018 GLCs Dave Desmond and Jenna Brummett.

Money raised during the event was donated to an organization called Anxiety Gaming, a non-profit that provides mental health services for gamers.