First-ever NASEF high school League of Legends scholastic tournament; High schools battle for top esports honors and Sunny Hills High School is victorious

press release Apr 29, 2019
2019 LOL Finals

North America Scholastic Esports Federation engages students in video game tournaments and creative challenges for fun and learning

(Orange County, CA – April 29, 2019) – On April 27, Sunny Hills High School was victorious in the first-ever League of Legends high school championship tournament in the North America Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF). Clubs from many regions across the United States and Canada competed this season, and the final four teams were:

  • Troy High School - Fullerton, CA – 2nd place
  • Washington Technology Magnet School (Leviathan) - Saint Paul, MN – 4th place
  • Sunny Hills High School - Fullerton, CA – 1st place
  • Los Alamitos High School - Los Alamitos, CA – 3rd place

Riot Games' League of Legends is a popular game requires intense strategic planning from players, combined with on-the-fly adjustments based on the opponent and their moves in every match. Sunny Hills lost to Troy in the West Bracket Finals, making Troy the favorite to win the North America Championship title. After this loss, Sunny Hills regrouped, practiced, and showed excellence during the Finals match, claiming the Championship title with a 3-0 win against Troy.

High schoolers are a significant part of the tidal wave of growth in esports (competitive video gaming). NewZoo predicts that the global esports economy will top $1 Billion in 2019, signaling not only increasing popularity but also significant job opportunities.

NASEF is different from other esports environments because it draws overt connections between play and learning, creating a fun and relevant experience for all high schoolers. NASEF has created the only state-approved high school curriculum that leverages interest in esports while teaching foundational skills in English Language Arts.

Students across North America participate in a variety of game tournaments and Beyond the Game challenges. NASEF strongly emphasizes opportunity, diversity, and respect to all club members. This is evidenced in the following examples from clubs in the last few months:

  • A young girl with a mild learning disorder was on a team, and as a relatively new player, even though she was trying hard, she had some trouble learning things and retaining information. The team’s coach said that he could see her teammates try to accommodate her without being patronizing, treating her very well and helping out where they could even outside of practice, so she felt accepted like all the teammates.
  • In the East Bracket playoffs, the team ranked number two ran into technical issues the day of the final match. As they scrambled to get all teammates online, the opposing team gave up their own “pause time” to try to enable all players to get access to the game. This is a rare act of sportsmanship.
  • Unfortunately, in the world of esports at large, many girls face discrimination and harassment and are excluded from play. NASEF was proud to have its first all-girls team compete in the League of Legends tournament this year. Also, two of the top four teams have girls on the team alongside boys – a rarity in esports and virtually unheard of in all other sports.

Mark Deppe, Commissioner of NASEF and Director of the Esports Program at University of California, Irvine, said, “It’s exciting to see students from around the U.S. and Canada represent their schools in our first-ever League of Legends tournament. Whether they develop social and personal skills through their involvement in NASEF, become elite gamers and earn a scholarship to a highly-ranked school like UC Irvine, or build their understanding of career options, we know this is positive and productive experience for them."

About the North America Scholastic Esports Federation 

The North America Scholastic Esports Federation is working to ensure that ALL students possess the knowledge and skills needed to be society’s game changers: educated, productive, and empathetic individuals. NASEF is on a mission to provide opportunities for ALL students to use esports as a platform to acquire critical communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills needed to thrive in work and in life. The Federation’s core values are intertwined through all aspects of education and play: learning, opportunity, community, diversity, and respect.

Under the Samueli Foundation’s leadership, the Federation is led by partners from the Orange County Department of Education, OC STEM Initiative, Connected Camps, Connected Learning Lab, UCI Esports, UCI Henry Samueli School of Engineering, and the UCI Bren School of Information & Computer Science. 

Learn more at the NASEF website. Members of the press can find videos, infographics, and leadership profiles in the online press room. Join online conversations on Twitter @NASEFgg for esports updates and @NASEFedu for our education news, on Facebook and Instagram, and see matches streamed live on our Twitch channel. 

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