By 509J Communications
Madras High English Language Arts Teacher Beau Herman is representing Jefferson County School District 509J on a national level. He is the first eSports coach from the state of Oregon to be named a PlayVS Super Coach.
PlayVS is one of the leagues the MHS eSports team plays in. Super Coaches are some of the most passionate and committed individuals to ensuring eSports programs are successful. Their role, in addition to coaching their own school’s team, is to help other schools and coaches who are thinking of starting their own eSports team.
“They would get in contact with me and I would help them write their proposal,” Herman said. “I could talk to their school board, help set up funding, and find resources for them.”
Herman was nominated by an anonymous colleague.
“It’s pretty special to me because I’ve always coached everything else,” Herman said. “To be acknowledged for starting this club here and it’s done really well in the two years that we’ve had it and people are seeing that and recognizing it, it’s a huge honor.”
The eSports team at Madras High has seen tremendous success in a short amount of time. They average around 22 players and they play a multitude of games.
“Currently, we have two Apex teams, which are our highest-ranked teams in all of our leagues. We’ve got a Super Smash Brothers team, we have a Splatoon team, and an NBA 2k team,” Herman said.
The two Apex Legends teams are ranked in the top 10 out of 44 teams overall. The NBA 2K team is ranked in the top five out of nearly 50 teams. The Super Smash Brothers team is ranked in the top five as well out of more than 75 teams. When the season finished, Apex team 1 finished 4th overall, Apex team 2 finished 7th, the SSBU team just missed the playoffs, the Splatoon and Overwatch teams went out in round 2, and the Valorant and NBA 2K23 teams took 2nd place in their respective leagues.
“Our NBA 2K23 player, Bryson ThorntonPalomo has a chance to be invited to the PlayVS National Championship this summer, if the first place team can’t make it,” Herman said.
The team plays against regional opponents. Their competition ends up being from Washington, California, Hawaii, and other schools in Oregon.
Herman knows video games typically come with a negative connotation, but he sees the positive result from his students from being engaged with the team and club at MHS.
“The kids learn those skills that we don’t always hit on in a regular class: communication, leadership, confidence building,” Herman said. “Those are those 21st-century skills that through video games, they’re getting that confidence.”
Players are held to a similar academic standard for athletics at MHS. Students must be passing their core classes and students will be replaced on their team if one of their grades slips to a D. They will be able to rejoin the team once their grade has improved.
In addition to grades, Herman has personally seen other benefits this club has brought to the school.
“So, we have seen positive behaviors increase with some kids,” he said. “We’ve seen the grades go up and attendance because they want to come and play.”
ESports is slated to continue its growth that its seen in recent years. OSAA will recognize eSports as an official school sport starting in the 23-24 school year. With that could come more schools looking to start up their own team, and those teams could reach out to Herman if they need any assistance since he will be the Beaver state’s lone Super Coach.
“I’m honored to do it, but to bring some spotlight to Jefferson County and to MadrasHigh School is the ultimate reward,” he said. “We’re doing some awesome things here. We’re a small school. We’re a rural school, but look what can be done if you just have some people on the same team working together.”
Herman is in his fourth year as a teacher at Madras High School and seventh year overall as a teacher. He has been involved in education for the past 22 years serving in summer programs and after school programs.
He grew up in Montana on the Flathead Indian Reservation.