VIDEO: Sunny Hills High esports program engages students while building computer science skills

The award-winning esports program at Sunny Hills High School in Fullerton was recently featured in a news segment that’s been distributed to PBS stations across California.

The piece shows how video gaming is engaging students while building computer science skills, strengthening communication and collaboration, and spotlighting potential career pathways in the STEAM fields — otherwise known as science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

“Inside California Education: The Gamer Generation — The Rise of E-Sports” originally aired in March on KVIE, a public television station in Northern California. But you can watch the Sunny Hills High segment above.

“ESports is rapidly becoming a popular college sport. In 2016, there were only 7 colleges offering varsity eSports teams. As of 2022, there are over 170 colleges with more than 5,000 students playing eSports.”

— Inside California Education

Led by advisor Myra Deister, who teaches computer science and math, the esports club at Sunny Hills began in 2014. Practice sessions enable players to build their skills and try out for spots on the competitive team, which squares off against other schools in local, regional and national tournaments.

Speaking of which, the Fullerton Joint Union High School District campus won the first-ever North America Scholastic Esports Federation championship for its League of Legends play in 2019.

Esports in Orange County

With funding from the Samueli Foundation, the North America Scholastic Esports Federation was established in late 2017 with support from the Orange County Department of Education, UC Irvine and other partners aiming to leverage the popularity of gaming to promote collaboration, engagement, problem-solving and other skills.

Research conducted by UCI over the next two years showed that students who participated in NASEF events were more interested in STEM careers, demonstrated greater critical thinking skills and reported higher levels of school engagement. UCI has also found natural ties between league activities and state standards for science, math and English.

NASEF, which has developed digital toolkits and curriculum to amplify the educational benefits, was honored as a model public-private partnership in 2019 by the Orange County Business Council.

For more information on the North America Scholastic Esports Federation, visit