On Tuesday, May 17, Glen Meadow Middle School, along with Vernon Township Mayor Howard Burrell; Superintendent of Vernon Schools Dr. Karen D’Avino; Assistant Superintendent Dr. Charles McKay; Board of Education President Kelly Mitchell; Board of Education members Jennifer Pellet and Theresa Scura Coughlin; Electronic Gaming Federation directors Matthew Zanelli and Michelle Penner; and Vernon Township School District administration, parents, guardians and students, revealed their Unified eSports program and gaming room at a ribbon cutting ceremony.
At the heart of this program is Glen Meadow Middle School Principal Jacquelyn Van Orden and VTSD Director of Special Services Russell Fay. Both Van Orden and Fay expressed their pride in the Unified eSports program and the partnerships that were created to establish this inclusive club at Glen Meadow Middle School.
Van Orden stated, “Creating a climate of inclusion, acceptance, and respect defines the Vernon Township School District. At Glen Meadow Middle School, we are proud to offer Unified eSports and look to further integrate additional unified programs for our students in the future.”
Fay added, “Last summer, Glen Meadow Middle School partnered with the Play Unified program to create an inclusive eSports space and here we are today. Thank you to everyone who has supported us along the way.”
Other key stakeholders in the development of this program are Matthew Shea, the Vernon Township School District chief technology officer, and Kristen Petrucci, Unified eSports Club advisor and the music and choral teacher at Glen Meadow Middle School for grades six through eight.
Vernon Township High School’s Unified eSports Team was established during the 2020-2021 school year. Senior and team captain, Christopher Meichsner, spoke at the ceremony and shared how proud he is to be part of the team.
The VTHS Unified eSports Team will be traveling to Florida in June to participate in Nationals. Charlie Standaert, senior VTHS Unified eSports team member, spoke at the ceremony and stated, “Gaming is a community where you can thrive and you can make brand new friends you can’t make anywhere else.”
Glen Meadow Middle School Unified eSports members had the opportunity to share their thoughts on the club as well. Sixth grade student, Christian Katz, and eighth grade student, Robert Burdzy, shared how much fun they have together and the importance of being a part of this inclusive community.
The Glen Meadow Middle School Unified eSports program allows students to spend time together to share their love and passion for gaming. In addition, the after-school club supports team building, friendship building, and inclusivity across all grade levels. In an announcement, Vernon Township School District said it was looking forward to expanding these opportunities for students in the future.
“Gaming is a community where you can thrive and you can make brand new friends you can’t make anywhere else,” said Charlie Standaert, senior VTHS Unified eSports team member.