Two Virginia teens have turned their passion for esports into college scholarships. Ayden Price and Landon Stewart, high school students at Virginia Virtual Academy, an online public-school program, have each been awarded $4,000 esports scholarships from Robert Morris University to enroll at the university and continue their gaming careers.
Esports, the world of competitive, organized video gaming has grown into a worldwide phenomenon. The sport engages more than 530 million fans and offers endless opportunities and benefits for its participants, including skill building, career exploration, and college scholarships.
Robert Morris University was among the first higher education institutions to offer esports scholarships. Now, ESPN reports that more than 125 colleges are offering varsity esports and awarding more than $15 million in scholarships annually.
Upon acceptance of an RMU Esports scholarships, the student agrees to compete for RMU Esports every semester and keep their grades above the NCAA standard limit of 2.0. Ayden and Landon were offered scholarships for their technical abilities, as well as their mentality and potential.
“Students earn scholarships by showing poise, maturity, and coachability. Building a culture is important and we do that with every single recruit that walks through the front door at RMU Esports,” CJ Bakaj, head coach of RMU Esports, said.
For Ayden and Landon, their careers in esports began with Stride Inc.’s (NYSE: LRN) esports program, Stride Esports. With courses, camps, and tournaments in Minecraft Design, Scratch Coding, Esports Skills Coaching, Fortnite, Rocket League, Fall Guys, and more, Stride Esports introduces young gamers of all ability levels to a variety of games and skill-building opportunities.
Along with creating education and career-advancing opportunities, participating in esports can help young people boost confidence, develop collaboration and teamwork skills, improve problem solving skills, and foster lifelong friendships.
“With Stride Esports, we’re excited to be on the forefront of turning esports into opportunities for students. We are taking games that our students are playing and creating a competitive opportunity for them to learn necessary life skills, like teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving. Our students are flourishing,” said Karen Ghidotti, SVP of Customer Experience at Stride.