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Bishop Timon-St. Jude High School boots up Esports curriculum

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When a high school opens a new classroom filled with the latest Xbox and PlayStation consoles alongside a dozen high-powered gaming computer towers – all with a dedicated high-speed internet connection – you’d expect the students to be excited. 

Bishop Timon-St. Jude students learn the art of competitive gaming at the South Buffalo high school’s Esports Lab and Lounge. (Photo courtesy of Bishop Timon-St. Jude High School)

But as Bishop Timon-St. Jude High School has found out during the first few weeks that their new Esports Lab and Lounge has been open, educators are loving it at least as much as the students, if not more.  

“This is actually education at its finest,” said National Esports Association President Lori Bajorek. Every student at Timon will be taking a STEM class in the new lab to learn the art of Esports. “We’re going beyond the game,” said Bajorek. By creating lessons using video games, students learn enterprise, entrepreneurship, and leadership – all while having fun. 

“Everything in this room is absolutely amazing,” said Luke Clifford, Timon sophomore. Timon Senior Jack Ellis agrees. “I’m just thankful we have this opportunity at Timon. It’s going to be a great class.” 

Being able to identify the passions Timon students already have and create learning experiences around them is one of the hallmarks of Principal Dr. James Newton’s leadership at Timon, where teachers, staff, and administrators all work together to create a “distinctly Timon” experience. 

“We knew this would get our students excited and we were excited to be able to reach them through integrating gaming – by meeting them where they are, we are able to create a synergy that doesn’t exist at many other schools,” said Lysa Elis, Timon director of advancement, who plays the pivotal role of seeing what students need and finding the funding, especially among willing alumni, to make that happen.  

“When we told alum Chris Metz ‘77 about this idea, he immediately asked what it would take to make it happen,” said Elis, who works carefully to maintain balance between Timon’s Franciscan tradition and the cutting-edge ideas which take the school forward.

“This new space is not just a place to play and learn video games, but it’s a full curriculum,” said Brendan Graham, Timon director of admissions. He’s seen prospective students as well as the faculty energized. “It’s about playing Minecraft, but also learning chemistry and math.”  

The room is called an Esports lab and the classes are called STEM, but the skills learned go even beyond that, said Timon Head of School Tim Kenney.  

“One of the things we realized coming out of the pandemic, was that even more people were being pushed into technology-driven education,” said Kenney. “It’s really an exciting and unique partnership with the National Esports Association.”   Students and families who want to find out more about Timon’s Esports programs can stop by Timon Open House (Tuesday, Sept. 27 & Wednesday, Sept. 28 from 6-8 p.m. each night) or reach out to Brendan Graham directly at 716-826-3610, or email graham@bishoptimon.com.

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