2019-2020 Scholastic Fellows: A Year in Reflection

learning Jun 16, 2020
2019-2020 Scholastic Fellows

Applications are now live for the 2020-2021 Scholastic Fellow Program!

You can access the online application and find more detailed information regarding the program here.

Congratulations to our inaugural 2019-2020 cohort of the Scholastic Fellow Program for dedicating over 100+ hours sharing ideas, exchanging best practices, and collaborating on creating curriculum modules that will provide other educators a platform to develop their Scholastic Esports programs!   As Scholastic Esports continue to expand globally, we will have the opportunity to bring new perspectives from educators abroad with unique opportunities for students to creatively connect through learning and intentional play. This is truly only the beginning of what we can accomplish as a scholastic community.


  • ​24 Scholastic Fellows: 13 Middle School, 11 High School
  • 11 States (AZ, CA, FL, IA, IL, NE, NJ, NV, NY, OH, VA)
  • ​1200+ Students Impacted    

Reflecting on our year together, I am filled with an array of emotions thinking about all that has happened in the world and the unknown future we are all heading towards.  I find myself ruminating on the tragedies of the pandemic, the racial injustices, and the challenges our society continues to face making it increasingly difficult to maintain progress and a positive attitude. But amidst the turmoil, I quickly find a glimmer of hope thinking about how our community has provided us all with a safe space to continue to connect and learn through one of the most challenging eras of our lifetimes.

Most of our time spent together has been virtual, but no technological tool can ever replace the authentic relationships that transcend the confines of our digital boxes and continue to grow around the shared passion of integrating esports in education.  When each of us experienced a great success - there was a common energy, enthusiasm, and excitement knowing that we are all exploring a new realm of education. And when we were all suddenly stopped in our tracks due to a novel virus affecting millions of lives - there is deep reflection and compassion knowing that we all share the same struggle. With the world turned upside down and students in isolation, our time together quickly transformed into sharing our strategies around engaging with our students and collaborating to develop various online opportunities for our communities to get together and play. In uncharted territory, the Scholastic Fellows are truly the educational leaders that are navigating potential pathways for others.

While there have been many challenges along the way, I think it’s important to highlight and celebrate our growth as a community in the face of adversity!

  • Chris Aviles co-founded Garden State Esports as an official NASEF Affiliate with multiple sponsorships coming down the pipeline.
  • Shayla Baldwin, Amy Brudin, Jean Cavanaugh, Ivet Gonzales, Nate Simons, JD Williams, and James Wood engaged their middle school esports students in exploring their interests and potential careers in esports.
  • Rene Barge, Peter Melton, and David Manning successfully blended Scholastic Esports with their pre-existing CTE Games and Simulation pathways.
  • April Dixon created a unique personalized learning program that engages high school students in a blend of CTE, English, and Scholastic Esports.
  • Ryan Friederich, Angelique Gianas, and Cinthia Paez integrated ELA + Scholastic Esports in their high school classrooms.
  • Angelique Gianas and Chris Aviles created a unique Esports + Cyber Wellness curriculum in partnership with the San Diego County Office of Education.
  • David Hammers simultaneously started 10 distinct competitive teams in his esports club.
  • Tyler Hahn brought various Scholastic Esports opportunities to the Public Library Community.
  • Sam Kelso provided a unique opportunity for English Language Learners through Scholastic Esports.
  • Jodi Mahoney engaged her middle school students in a blend of brain-based learning, SEL, exploration in the esports ecosystem, and showcased her work at IDEAcon.
  • Margaret McNamara created the foundation for a fruitful Scholastic Esports program in her district with opportunities to expand as a NASEF Affiliate.
  • Leonard Moreno created connections between his school’s pre-existing CTE pathways and Scholastic Esports.
  • Akeem Morgan facilitated a unique program that engages students in physical fitness and Scholastic Esports.
  • Brad Seward blended Scholastic Esports and Social Science, providing a unique experience for his students.
  • James Wood hosted one of the first middle school Scholastic Esports Invitational tournaments in his community.
  • Alexander Wurden started a hybrid esports and book club that connects players with bigger ideas around strategic thinking and mindfulness.
  • Ryan Friederich, David Manning, Akeem Morgan, Angelique Gianas, Tyler Hahn, and JD Williams created online free play opportunities for students across the US to hang out and have fun during the transition to virtual learning.

I am filled with immense gratitude for the opportunity to work with such an amazing group of educators who are willing to step outside their comfort zones and pioneer scholastic esports for their students. I am excited to see the continued innovation we can accomplish in our communities together. 

Jorrel Batac
Esports Scholastic Instructional Coach

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