DOWNEY, Calif. (KABC) -- Even through a pandemic, high school students from the Downey Unified School District found a way to compete in sports; Esports, to be exact.
"I enjoyed the team-based aspect of it since we work together into achieving, into prevailing against the other team," said Gio Aguirre, team captain of the Downey High School team, called The Home Slices. "The bond that we built will last forever."
Three years ago, the school district partnered with the Carrot Group organization to develop the Downey Unified Esports League across all of their high schools.
"The experience of esports is that it's a lot more calm since you're in a physical sport, so you have more time to think," said Aguirre. "It's fun doing something that you love in a competitive scene."
One of the end goals with the tournament, besides winning, is to promote S.T.E.A.M career interests with students.
S.T.E.A.M. stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math.
"What we've done is we've connected this esports championship to careers in the gaming industry," said Dr. John Garcia, superintendent of the school district. "Gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry globally. And we want to make sure that our kids know and understand the opportunities in the gaming industry."
The Downey High team won the 2020 tournament in December.
During a socially distant award ceremony at the school, students received a trophy, gifts from Lenovo, and a deeper perspective of the gaming industry and their future endeavors.
"What I want to be as a software engineer for any form of company, it'd be a programmer or website builder. Anything with that involves technology," said Aguirre.
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Downey high schools using Esports tournament to promote STEAM career interests in students
Downey High School won the 2020 Esports tournament in December, marking the school's first win in the tournament's three-year existence.
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