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  • Writer's pictureHigh School Esports League

Building a Legacy Vol. 4: Summerville High School

Updated: Apr 8

Author: David Stone, Commissioner of Competition


There's a new kid on the block: Summerville High School. Hailing from Summerville, South Carolina, the Green Wave is proving that they have what it takes to be in the conversation of "best in the nation". Fall 2023 saw Summerville have their most successful season by far in the High School Esports League since joining at the end of 2022. How successful, you may ask? The Summerville Green Wave are 1 of only 4 schools that have a presence in all three Premier titles, earning their spot through either Fall season performance (they were1st place in the Fall East Region for Brawlhalla) or the spring open qualifiers for Rocket League and VALORANT. As many of us may know, just getting your program off the ground comes with its fair share of obstacles, so I reached out to head Coach David Griggs to get more background and insight on what has helped the Green Wave make such a massive splash in the High School Esports League.



A photo of David Griggs, Head Coach
David Griggs, Head Coach

What is your esports programs' origin story?

Our esports program started years ago as a gaming club that met weekly during lunch and allowed a space for students to play video games and share interests with their peers. We’ve hosted several local tournaments for the students but not ventured into the competitive side of esports until last year. We were awarded the BEST Teacher Grant which offered the opportunity for us to get the equipment we needed to start the esports club. As we got started, our district’s CTE Director, Mr. Greg Harrison, heard about our program and saw our vision to support students who might otherwise not be involved in after school programs. With his help, we have set up esports arenas in each of our three high schools and that has really helped grow our program.


Did you have to overcome any challenges to get your program off the ground?

There have been plenty of growing pains along the way: figuring out all the technical details to get the lab set up, working with our IT department when something went wrong, deciding how to manage the over 100 students that are involved in the program, and many more little hiccups. Recently, our club has been reaching out to local businesses to help get funding for jerseys, better equipment, and to set up our streaming station. The production team has been a big hit for students that are not interested in competing but still want to be involved.


Kevin "Zebrepet" B., 1st in Fall Brawlhalla

What has been the highlight of your school's competitive journey in HSEL thus far?

While the journey has been a bit bumpy at times, our students have had a phenomenal amount of growth. One standout moment from our HSEL experience was Kevin “Zebrepet” on his near-flawless run in the Brawlhalla Fall Major. He dominated the tournament with only one game dropped... that kind of performance inspires our entire program.


What are you most looking forward to this spring season?

I’m excited to see [Zebrepet’s] run in the Spring [Brawlhalla] Premier tournament. We’re also thrilled to see how our Rocket League and Valorant teams perform since they qualified for Premier.




Do you have any advice for fellow peers who are leading--or looking to lead--their school's esports program?

To any school that is considering starting an esports program, I say, do it. Invest the time and money needed to have a successful program and you will see all kinds of kids flourish. There are many resources available online to help you start your program if you’re willing to put in the effort. Ask for help, communicate with parents, and get your district involved. We are working to change the public’s perception of esports and gaming. Once people understand that we’re not just sitting around and playing video games, it’s much easier to get support. I am dedicated to helping high school esports grow and think that HSEL provides a great service to schools.


Summerville student athletes locked in. From left to right: Mariah H., Shunto S., Nick M., and Nick B.

 

David Stone

Commissioner of Competition

HSEL, MSEL, & Youth Winner's Circle


"In esports, I found my community AND my competitive spirit. I’m so thankful for the privilege I had in school where I was able to explore my musical passion, and I want to play a role providing that same opportunity to the students now, tomorrow, and forever. I want to give students a reason to come to school, just like I had."


 

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