BLACKFOOT, Idaho (KIFI) – Video games are becoming serious business at Blackfoot High School.
Back in March, Blackfoot was selected to be one of 25 schools nationwide to participate in the Build an Esport Lab campaign.
The program was started by the High School Esports League (HSEL), North America's largest and longest-running competitive gaming organization for high school students.
The school received six new gaming systems along with mechanical keyboards, wireless headsets, and gaming mice.
On Wednesday, the high schoolers began assembling their high-tech machines, the ones part of a long-shot dream they brought to their teacher months prior.
"It was actually a student that sent me the email," said math teacher Mori Dunlap. "He saw this and he was like, 'hey Dunlap, make sure you apply for this.' So, from even before the application process, there were students telling me, we got to go for this. Come on, we got to go for this."
The computers were brought and set up by members of the HSEL, who wanted to help give these students equal access to the new technology.
"We understand that not every kid is able to have one of these high end gaming computers at home," said HSEL Commissioner Connor Alne. "They might not have high-end internet or they might be in a rural area that just doesn't provide it. So, by bringing this into the schools, they get stable fast internet, and they get access to these expensive computers that put them on a level playing field with everyone else."
For the students at Blackfoot High, these new gaming systems are something to get excited about.
"For all of us as a group, it’s just really exciting, because we haven't really had experiences like these before, where we get to do big things," said Blackfoot student Michael Hammond.
Dunlap says he is hopeful the new systems will help attract new members to the school's esports team.