My Northern Wisconsin

Covering Ashland, Iron, Lincoln, Oneida, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, and Vilas Counties



The Norvado Esports Grant Program has named Phillips High School as the first recipient of $25,000 to grow the school’s esports program, which is statewide, competitive-level video gaming.  Principal Kevin Wellman explained, “Simply put, esports are video games that are played in a highly-organized, competitive environment.  These games can range from popular, team-oriented, multi-player online battle arenas (MOBAs) to single player first-person shooters to survival battle royales to virtual reconstructions of physical sports.”

He continued, “Our school is a part of the WIHSEA (Wisconsin High School Esports Association).  The titles are broken into three seasons:  Fall, Winter, and Spring.  The fall titles are Smite and Smash Bros.; winter titles are Rocket League and Fortnite; and spring titles consist of League of Legends and Valorant.  Each of these titles are dependent on student participation.  As this was our first season, we decided to ease into the seasons.  We offered fall season to middle school but all three seasons to high school.”

Evan Evenson, coach of the team, shared, “This team means so much to the students, and this generous grant from Norvado is not only going to provide them with the technology that they need, but it’s also a great source of excitement that’ll bring their accomplishments to the attention and support of the whole school community.”

Nine of the players will be seniors next season, and several of them plan to transfer their interest into tech-related pursuits.  Hayden Sokolowski, Class of 2024, said “Studying some of the most popular games and how they work can help with a future career in game design or programming.  My goal is to become a video game programmer, and esports really helps with that.”

According to Norvado, “The funds will be used by the school to construct a competitive esports gaming facility on campus, enrich the students’ lives, and broaden their opportunities in high school and beyond."

In 2022, the team’s first year, the twelve participants used basic gaming equipment.  With this grant, the team will expand to twenty or more players, and they will compete in all of the different seasons offered during the 2023-2024 school year.  An esports area will also be developed, as well.  Principal Wellman said, “We are looking for a suitable location in the 6-12 building.  This would most likely be two separate locations, one for high school and one for middle school....Currently we are looking at a setup that could be possibly multi-use and allow for rearranging of space.  There are many options out there, and we want to make sure we go with options that will allow the space to grow or be moved if need be.  The physical setup would be computers, monitors, tables or desks, and chairs.  This would also include the peripherals like keyboards and mice.”

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SUPPORT LOCAL EVENTS:  From pop to country to rock to polka, the Price County Fair's 2023 music line-up has a lot of genres covered!  Enjoy the Price County Fair, coming to Phillips August 23-27, 2023!  Visit the Price County Fair's website and follow the Price County Fair's Facebook page.

According to Norvado, “Programs like these provide local youth a multitude of new opportunities:  team bonding; personal growth; scholarships; professional athletic careers,; and careers in the production, announcing, programming, support (IT and other), and broadcasting job markets.

Principal Wellman, added, “Esports have positive impacts on the average student as it encourages problem solving skills and enhances student communication with each other.  The competition and teamwork allow students to bond and forge friendships in new opportunities. All of these working in conjunction have our students working well together and performing better in class.”

Chad Young, Norvado CEO, added, “This grant will provide the necessary funds to establish a cutting-edge gaming facility equipped with state-of-the-art technology.  Additionally, with Norvado's high-speed fiber network, our local high school students will have the advantage of low latency, enabling them to compete at the highest level in the rapidly expanding world of esports.  The opportunities for scholarships and careers in esports have grown significantly in recent years, and it's truly exciting to see Phillips High School equipped with a modern facility and the connectivity needed to fully develop the skills of our talented students.”

The Norvado Esports Grant Program is available to all schools that reside in a Norvado ILEC exchange and are serviceable by their fiber network. To learn more or apply for future funding, contact Norvado’s esports partner in the program, the MKEsports Alliance, at 414-690-2933 or email

View current offers on Norvado's website.

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(This post was last modified: 06-06-2023, 01:53 PM by My Northern Wisconsin.)