'Friday Night Bytes’: Florence School District One introduces Esports program

Florence School District 1 unveils new Esports program, facility

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Students in Florence School District 1 now don’t have to wait until after school to enjoy video games.

The district held a ribbon-cutting Thursday to introduce a new Esports program and facility.

Superintendent Dr. Richard O’Malley said over the last few years, Florence 1 has tried to be innovative and progressive in many ways. The new facility is fitted with dozens of gaming computers, monitors, TV screens and even spectator seating. O’Malley believes the Esports program is the next step in innovation.

“We’re excited to launch the next phase of what we think is going, as you can see a state of the art facility, but something that’s going to be a national model for Esports," said O’Malley.

He added the program could also set students up for success in the future.

“Many opportunities for our students to get scholarships not only here locally, but across the nation, at schools so it’s just another opportunity we wanted to expand for our students," said O’Malley.

The Esports program was the brainchild of Florence 1 Chief Technology Officer Kyle Jones and Systems Administrator Wyatt Howle, who will serve as the program’s coach.

Jones said while it took a long time to get to the new facility, he’s looking forward to seeing students taking advantage of the program.

“To see it come from start to finish and come to fruition where it was literally a blank slate, I’m just excited, I can’t really put it into words. It’ll probably hit me when I see our student-athletes competing in a championship match," he said.

Florence 1 students in grades 9-12 will have the chance to try out for the Esports program. Howle also had a message for those interested in joining the team.

“Bring your A-game," he said. “Because we’re going to do some amazing things together."

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