MVUSD hosts first-ever All-Girls Esports tournament in the county
Moreno Valley Unified School District hosts first-ever All-Girls Esports tournament in the county
Moreno Valley, Calif. - The Moreno Valley Unified School District hosted its first-ever All-Girls Esports Tournament (Mario Kart) on Dec. 2, 2023, at the University of Redlands, featuring students from across the district.
“We are happy to provide these types of opportunities for our students,” said School Board President Susan Smith. “We hope events like these will inspire girls to continue their involvement and inspire them to pursue careers in technology and the gaming industry.”
The district is the first known district in Riverside County to host an all-girls esports tournament, which was also organized by female leads. Nearly 100 students competed for winning trophies, representing different grade levels: elementary, middle and high.
“For the first all-girls tournament that we’ve ever hosted, we had such an incredible turnout,” said Ariel Koepp, co-coordinator of the event.
Koepp was the first esports coach in the district to create an all-girls esports club at Ridge Crest Elementary School, which quickly spread to other schools.
“I created my all girls club ‘GameHERs’ because I wanted to foster my girls’ love for gaming and build their confidence. I wanted them to have a safe space to be themselves and do what they love to do, while encouraging them to try new things,” she added.
For this reason, the event featured more than just a gaming competition. Over 300 parents, guardians and family members stopped by an art gallery, binary code keychain station, makerspace STEAM station, and a Mario Kart themed photobooth.
“Part of our district’s mission is to prepare students to be college and career ready,” said Jessica Roque, co-coordinator of the event. “Since many of our families are Spanish-speaking, we even partnered with the university to conduct bilingual college tours so the whole family could learn about the university’s offerings together.”
Roque was the lead organizer of the event, communicating with all people involved and ensuring all students had an amazing experience. The district also had several district managers and staff serving as mentors to motivate the students during the competition.
Alyson Moore, Esports teacher and coach at Badger Springs Middle School served as the host for the event, generating excitement for each match.
“This is exactly the kind of event that I would have loved to participate in when I was growing up,” she said. “It's important for girls to feel successful in a competitive gaming environment that is tailored to help them integrate into co-ed gaming. Giving girls an entry into a field that is so male-dominated opens up opportunities for them, helps remove barriers at a younger age and shows everyone that girls belong. It also gives them a preview of just how wide the esports field is.”
This was the first event that Moore has participated in as a host, but she loved every minute of it.
“It isn't just gaming, esports has so many career opportunities in it. Events like this help get girls interested and involved.”
The Moreno Valley Unified School District will continue to expand its efforts to increase engagement with all students involved.
“We know that esports has provided students with a new opportunity to engage at their schools,” said Interim Superintendent Dr. Robert Verdi. “Creating an all-girls tournament and league is certainly another way to increase involvement, but it also helps create a sense of belonging.”
The schools scored as follows:
- 1st Place: Moreno Valley HS
- 2nd Place: Valley View HS
- 1st Place: Vista Heights MS
- 2nd Place: Mountain View MS
Elementary (Two 1st Place)
- La Jolla ES
- North Ridge ES