MOROCCO, Ind. — For those who think that gaming has no future, ESports leagues are proving them wrong. Terry Laffoon, from North Newton’s IT department, gave a presentation on the value of ESports for students and their futures. He outlined college scholarship opportunities and cash awards for playing video games well.

Mr. Laffoon would like to start an ESports team at North Newton and impressed the board with his thorough research and plan to implement this type of athletic team. He explained that it is more than just playing video games, it is a competition where students work together to succeed and that this team would follow the same guidelines as other athletes for other teams.

Start-up costs are the biggest issue. Diane Gonczy, in support of the program, said that in order for the teams to be successful they need proper equipment. Other board members agreed that if they are going to approve this, the team should have competitive equipment so they are not starting at a disadvantage. Mr. Laffoon would like to have an official ESports team this fall. There are numerous jobs related to this kind of skill, said Laffoon. Other benefits are that it’s all-inclusive, involves teamwork, applies strategy and STEM, and is a safe environment for all students. Newly founded in Indiana is the IHSEN (Indiana high school esports network) which North Newton can be part of in the fall.

Student spotlights for April are Tatum Cahill, Rylynn Klemz, Dean Powell, Riley Higgins, and Chase Paine. Tatum is a 5th-grade student at Lake Village and was nominated by her teacher, Mrs. Hines, and Principal Hankins. Mrs. Hines recognized Tatum’s helpfulness and trustworthiness, remarking that Tatum can be trusted to complete a variety of tasks and is always willing to help others with what they need. Mrs. Hankins added that Tatum is outgoing and friendly, happily making others feel at ease. Said Hankins, “Tatum is a wonderful young lady that I am sure with her attitude, determination, and kindness for others, will go on to do great things in her future to better others.”

Lincoln Elementary’s Rylynn Klemz is in the 5th grade and was nominated by Principal Neal. Mrs. Neal said that Rylynn is kind, intelligent, and helpful. She also has a great sense of humor and is a notable leader. Rylynn serves as the student council president and continually challenges herself academically. Dean attends Morocco Elementary where he is in Mrs. Sander’s 3rd-grade class.

Mrs. Sanders nominated Dean because of his independence and responsibility in being a successful remote student this year. Principal Lawbaugh also applauded Dean’s virtual involvement in his class and the school, adding his remarkable contributions in the ‘Read to the Final Four’ competition.

Riley is in 7th grade and was nominated by Mrs. Brant and Mrs. Kimmel. Both teachers praised Riley’s creativity, ambition, and effort. She is also well mannered, respectful, and mature which helps her relate well to her classmates and adults. These qualities and more make Riley an ideal Spartan and role model for others.

Chase is a freshman and was nominated by Mrs. Williams for being a ready volunteer and class participant. Mrs. Williams especially appreciates his dramatic reading skills when acting the part of Lord Capulet. Chase is intuitive and a joy to have in class.

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