Generation Esports (GenE) formally announced the first key activities for the newly launched Middle School Esports League (MSEL). Following the path of GenE’s High School Esports League (HSEL) — North America’s largest competitive gaming organization for high schools, MSEL aims to harness middle school students’ passion for video games through organized competition and provide beneficial academic opportunities. The MSEL officially kicks off in the fall semester with the MSEL Fall Major esports tournament.
Beginning September 21, 2020, the MSEL Fall Major is an eight-week long esports competition where North American middle school esports clubs can compete against their peers in six popular multiplayer online video games. Winning teams will net their schools gaming hardware like Nintendo Switch consoles. Thanks to the innovative technologies that power Generation Esports’ tournament platform, competitors of the MSEL Fall Major will easily find time-slots and enter queues to arrange gameplay sessions with opponents for remote competitions.
Fortnite tournaments will be offered free to all middle schools to try out the platform and experience esports at their school. The full list of esports titles featured in the MSEL Fall Major includes Minecraft, Rocket League, Fortnite, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Just Dance 2020, and Mario Kart 8 DX.
Registration for the MSEL Fall Major begins August 24, 2020. Students, teachers/advisors, and existing esports clubs can register their teams at https://middleschoolesports.com.
“We are very excited to carry over all of our accomplishments and learnings from operating North America’s largest high school esports organization and offer middle school students the same opportunities,” said Mason Mullenioux, co-founder and CEO of Generation Esports. “Whether students are eying a professional esports career or just love playing video games, the Middle School Esports League will help students excel not only in organized competition, but academically — creating opportunities to improve their skills, grades, and future prospects.”
Additionally, a new esports-based curriculum for middle school students is being developed by Dr. Kristy Custer and Michael Russell from Complete High School Maize in Kansas — the two educators behind the innovative, Microsoft-backed HSEL Gaming Concepts curriculum that shaped high school students’ passion for video games into academic success. The new curriculum will launch in the near future and be available to middle schools to engage students in social-emotional learning (SEL) and digital citizenship through the lens of video games and esports. Where implemented, high school students who took the HSEL Gaming Concepts course saw an average of 1.4 points of GPA improvement and 95 percent or better attendance — strong evidence of the positive impact video games and organized esports can have on students’ lives, especially in an academic setting.
“Middle school is often the time when school becomes challenging not only academically, but also socially for students,” said HSEL Gaming Concepts co-creator Michael Russell. “All of a sudden students no longer have one teacher and a built-in group of friends that they spend their days within the classroom. So many students struggle to find where they belong. The new curriculum will help middle school teachers bring esports into their classrooms where they can implement purposeful play with the social-emotional learning and digital citizenship that is so desperately needed.”
Pricing for middle schools interested in joining MSEL begins at just $20 USD per student per tournament, with weekly Fortnite tournaments free to all students. Annual packages are available that include additional perks and are cheaper for growing programs. For Title 1 schools looking to raise funds for league fees and/or esports-related equipment, GenE facilitates financial assistance through STEM grants and its partnerships with non-profit organization Varsity Esports Foundation (VEF) and fundraising service partner FundMyTeam.