On Tuesday, students from the High School for Sports Management in Brooklyn, NY visited the campus of St. Thomas Aquinas College in order to learn more about the college's newly created eSports program.
The thirty two member team, lead by HSSM Prinicipal, Derek Cradle and eSports Advisor/Science teacher Matthew Attanasia toured the college campus and took part in a question and answer session with both Brad Sarno, STAC's Coordinator of Athletics & Student Activities Programming and Admissions Counselor, Andrew Tartara about various topics ranging from campus life, to the admissions process, balancing academics with being an athlete, and the personal college experiences of both Sarno and Tartara. A visit to the Spartan eSports lab, where students were able to try out gaming equipment, first hand, and a group lunch in the St. Thomas Aquinas College dining hall capped a day for all to remember.
The High School for Sports Management has formed a very special relationship with the East Coast Conference and its member schools over the last few years with the intent of being able to show HSSM students colleges and athletic programs in the metropolitan area through campus visits and the hosting of seminars with college athletic professionals, in order to give students the opportunity to connect with local institutions of higher education.
In the fall of 2017, the High School for Sports Management formed its own eSports club. This organized, competitive electronic gaming phenomenon is growing in popularity and profitability everyday. People all over the world are either involved as participants or as spectators. Professional gamers are members of teams and leagues. Professional sports teams have have even formed their own squads. It stands to reason that colleges and universities, including St. Thomas Aquinas College, would integrate this activity into their own programs, and even make scholarships available to potential recruits.
HSSM students reflected on their day in Sparkill. Rashaad Edwards remarked "For me it was a great experience to visit a college for and to enter the eSports zone". Sanneil Rowe commented "In the eSports center, we saw technology and heard about the process of forming the club, budgeting for better technology, and playing with the club". Guang Wei Too explained "Though we explored the world of eSports, St. Thomas Aquinas College representatives informed us that we must focus on our grades and how to market ourselves to colleges.
St. Thomas Aquinas College Coordinator of Athletics & Student Activities Programming, Brad Sarno summed up the day with the HSSM students. "Today was a day in which we could host high school students whose love and passion for eSports and gaming is something that can potentially be a benefit for St. Thomas Aquinas College. I wanted to make sure that their experience here on campus was one that they would never forget. For some of these kids, this is their first time stepping onto a college campus, so I wanted all of them to experience what it is like to be a member of the St. Thomas Aquinas College community and the Spartan Athletics family, even if it was for one day".