The Journal Gazette
Monday, January 18, 2021 1:00 am

Education notebook

Snider esports finds success

Team reached national finals in inaugural season

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Snider High School had not planned to launch its esports program in the fall, but the timing seemed to have worked out given its inaugural season successes.

One of its teams finished the regular season ranked 14th of almost 400 schools nationwide, qualifying those students for a single-elimination national tournament, coach Joe Wilhelm said by email.

The students advanced to the grand finals by winning their first three matches in the High School Esports League tournament, but the team lost to a school from Brooklyn, New York, Wilhelm said.

Sophomore Jalen Stills also made it to the league's Fortnite invitational based on his regular season play, Wilhelm said, adding the student placed second – a point short of first place and a $1,000 scholarship.

Reaching nationals in the program's first year was encouraging, Wilhelm said, calling it validation of the work it took to launch it.

He noted Snider was ready to begin its first season last March, but the pandemic quickly quashed those plans.

Wilhelm understands some people don't understand the value of high school esports because they think schools are letting students play video games in school.

“They don't see the team-building, communication and leadership that we are building into students or the opportunities for college scholarships and professional opportunities for players and support students,” Wilhelm said.

Wilhelm hopes publicity about Snider's participation in the national finals will strengthen the legitimacy of high school esports and encourage other schools to start their own programs.

Esports is accessible to everyone, regardless of gender, physical ability, age and geographic location, Wilhelm said. He noted participation at Snider costs nothing for students because of its sponsor, Aptera.

Wilhelm described the esports participants as a diverse group but noted many aren't involved in other co-curricular activities because they aren't athletic or musical, Wilhelm said.

“They don't feel like there is anything 'for them' or a place they can belong,” he said. “The push behind esports for us was to give these students who didn't have opportunities or desire to participate elsewhere to have all the benefits we see coming from involvement in co-curricular activities.” 

Charter schools

The Indiana Charter School Board will accept letters of intent from charter school applicants through 11:59 p.m. Jan. 29. Full applications are due by 11:59 p.m. March 2. Email Go to for information.


• Middle and high school students have until Feb. 28 to enter the 2021 Martin Luther King Jr. essay contest sponsored by the Indiana Association of School Principals. Go to for information or contact with questions.

• Entries for the National Missing Children's Day poster contest are due Feb. 22 to Indiana State Police Museum, c/o Sgt. Elwood, 8660 E. 21st St., Indianapolis, IN 46219. There is no limit on the number of posters a school can submit, but only one poster per student is allowed. Students must be fifth graders. Go to for rules.


• Civil rights activist, author and CNN commentator Bakari Sellers will serve as the keynote speaker at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 29 for Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo's 17th annual Doing the Dream programs honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. His address will be presented virtually. Northeast Indiana high school students may attend alongside Ivy Tech Fort Wayne and Warsaw students. Go to for information or to RSVP.

• Ivy Tech Fort Wayne and Warsaw will host Transformation Thursdays starting this week. The events will be held from noon to 1 p.m. twice a month through May. Topics include enhancing employability skills, interview etiquette and building a resume. All events are free and open to the public. The virtual meeting link is


• A $331,000 grant from the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration is allowing the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites to create a virtual version of its exhibit, “FIX: Heartbreak and Hope Inside Our Opioid Crisis.” The grant will be used to write and produce a series of videos that can be used in the classroom or virtually. Educators wanting a more interactive virtual experience may have a museum staff member host, engage and guide classrooms in an interactive video program. All programs follow Indiana academic standards. There will be a fee for the programs, but scholarships are available.

Homework help

• Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology's free AskRose Homework Help service received a $1.46 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to expand science and math homework help services for middle and high school students. AskRose soon will implement video tutoring into its traditional phone, chat and email services. This will facilitate an easier method for students and tutors – students at Rose-Hulman – to share discussions about problems involving symbols, equations, diagrams and graphs. Students may call 877-275-7673 to speak with a tutor or go to to interact with a tutor online or through email. Questions filed by email and other means are answered during AskRose's hours of operation – 7 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.


Bhupinder Singh has been named founding program director of the Department of Physical Therapy at Manchester University. He begins March 1. He comes to northeast Indiana from California State University in Fresno. He completed his doctoral work in physical therapy and rehabilitation sciences at the Carver School of Medicine at the University of Iowa.


• High school and college students planning to teach in Indiana at least five years have until Jan. 31 to apply for the Next Generation Hoosier Educators Scholarship, which awards $7,500 per year up to $30,000 total. Go to for information.

• A financial aid and scholarship guide for Black students is available at

Science Central

• Science Central's Science 4U outreach program received funding from the Van Wert County Foundation and the Community Foundation of Noble County. K-12 teachers in both counties may request a complimentary demonstration or kit set. Requests are processed on a first-come, first-served basis and will be accepted until funding is exhausted. Go to for information.

Students and parents who have a favorite teacher can nominate the individual for Teacher Honor Roll. Send nominations to The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email

To submit an item, send a typed release from the school or organization to Education Notebook, The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email at least two weeks before the desired publication date.

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