Esports club provides interactive learning and social experience for students at Oregon Charter Academy

Students at the virtual school come together from all over the state to learn valuable skills like communication and creativity.

A Zoom screen shows various students of the E-sports club.

Despite living far apart, classmates get valuable face time outside of the typical online class setting.

Photo via ORCA

Despite serving kids across the state, Oregon Charter Academy (ORCA) offers approx. 40 student clubs, more than 200 yearly field trips, and career and technical education programs just like other tuition-free public schools.

For most of these opportunities, the control is in students’ hands — or the controller, in the case of ORCA’s esports club.

The club provides the chance for gamers to turn their hobby into a tech-based alternative to real sports, giving them a platform to develop communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking skills as a team. ORCA also offers related STEM courses on topics like video game design, software engineering, and coding.

Since its launch a year ago, the group has grown to 20+ members, including two students from Portland. As an affiliate with the Mountain West region of PlayVS, students practice and compete against other schools in titles like Rocket League and League of Legends.