Caden Trask adjusts the CPU fan of a computer he built at Messalonskee High School on Monday as part of the high school esports league. Greg Levinsky/Morning Sentinel

OAKLAND — Caden Trask fiddled with a screw driver carefully, so as not not wreck anything.

“I just don’t want to press too hard,” the Messalonskee High School sophomore told classmate Noah Patterson. “This is only worth, like, $1,000.”

Trask was installing a CPU fan into the motherboard of a new computer he and Patterson built Monday as part of the High School Esports League’s Roadshow.

Messalonskee High School received and installed its free, fully equipped esports lab on Monday after being one of 25 schools nationwide chosen from an applicant pool of more than 5,000 by the Esports League and Army National Guard.

Now, the current team members no longer need to lug their consoles and monitors back and forth to school. The $10,000 esports lab includes six computers and all needed accessories.

Representatives from the roadshow built the lab on-site in the school’s cafeteria, and they lead 10 students in building the computers.

Messalonskee High School serves Regional School Unit 18 students from the towns of Belgrade, China, Oakland, Sidney and Rome. After some hiccups with getting the program off the ground, a group of three Messalonskee High School seniors came together to start the school esports program.

David Cunningham, one of the three seniors who helped found the club, is planning on playing esports at Thomas College in Waterville. He’s excited to have shepherded in a new program for his school. The new lab was the icing on the cake.

“It’s turned into a real program now,” Cunningham said. “I’m kind of speechless and don’t know what to say. It’s awesome and I couldn’t be happier.

David Cunningham, center left, and Wyatt Patterson, far right, work on the esports lab Monday at Messalonskee High School. helped found the school’s esports program. Greg Levinsky/Morning Sentinel

Patterson’s older brother, Wyatt, is one of the program’s founding seniors. Little brother is thankful the esports program started early in is high school career.

“It’s pretty dope we got this for the school to play esports,” Noah Patterson said.

This spring, Messalonskee High School is fielding a Rocket League Team with Play VS, an official high school esports league sanctioned last summer by the Maine Principals’ Association. The High School Esports League is not yet recognized by Maine’s governing body for high school sports, but 15 schools across the state, including nearby Waterville Senior High School, are involved with the league. Messalonskee High School finished in fourth place statewide and begins the playoffs this week.

Nathan Davis, a math teacher at the school and coach of the team, said interest in the program is increasing. The lab created a buzz around the school. The lab will be in a classroom, but hopes are the program can get its own dedicated room when space not at such a premium in schools due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The kids definitely know about it and a lot are interested,” Davis said of the program, which currently has 10 regular student members. With the lab, “the interest is just going to take off from here.”

The esports lab also comes with a curriculum for STEM — or science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Although it will not be offered for the 2021-22 school year, existing faculty members are planning on integrating aspects of the curriculum into their lessons.

As Trask and Patterson finished a step in their computer building process Monday with a little help from league officials, they realized the potential for the program in front of them.

“It’s sick,” said Trask, who also plays football and wrestles for the Messalonskee Eagles. “It’s stuff I wouldn’t get to use regularly.”

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: