Braden Brown, 16 year veteran teacher of Maud ISD, worked with district officials closely last year and into the summer to pilot a rapidly growing ESports Program that is popping up in classrooms across the US. Esports programs take the pastime of video gaming and make it into a traditional sport where students take on an educational approach to video gaming, by competing in teams, and individually to train their skills, learn teamwork and so much more. Imagine a classroom where students from every walk of life come together and form friendships and bonds, while learning leadership skills and you’ve found what Braden Brown and his students are creating at Maud ISD through their Esports program.
TXKToday had the pleasure of meeting with Braden and his team of students who have worked hard this year and have made it to several competitions including their Fortnite team who WON the 2022 State Fortnite Championship during their FIRST year as a team! Their Apex Legends team made it to the state playoffs and one Minecraft student also made it to the playoffs this year!
Many who play video games use the pastime as a way to relieve stress, communicate with friends across the country and so much more. The purpose of an Esports programs is to take the pastime and make it educational, so students can earn scholarships, degrees and so much more. “Our students aren’t simply just playing games to have fun throughout the day. They are learning math skills, critical thinking and communication skills. They are working together to form bonds with their teammates, and are growing in their ability to trust in one another to get jobs done during stressful yet fun competition environments,” said Braden.
For many parents, there is always the worry when their children go online to play video games that they will encounter bullying, foul language, and strong violence. However through the Esports program, students compete in a nontoxic community of students from around the United States. “Everyone throughout the league is incredibly respectful of one another. You find yourself with tons of sportsmanship, and all of the competitions we have been to have shown us respectful competition. Everyone truly gets together to cheer each other on, and it is unlike any other type of sports program that we currently have in our schools,” said Braden.
“What we are doing in our classrooms now is taking something our students love to do outside of school, and bringing it into our classrooms in a way that takes a hobby and teaches our students how to make it into a career,” said Braden. After speaking with Braden and his team, TXKToday learned that the Maud Esports team consists of students who are also athletes from other sports, students who have known each other for years and students who are new to the district. The team also consists of a strong male and female population. “Our dynamic is unlike what typical classrooms used to look like. We have students from all walks of life, coming together for a common purpose, learning skills, working together without the added stressors of drama, and truly becoming a team, building friendships and so much more,” said Braden.
Congratulations to the Maud ISD Esports program and their various teams on their successes this year!