It Pays to Play: Virginia Teens Turn Esports Skills into College Scholarships

Two Virginia Virtual Academy students were awarded $4,000 esports scholarships from Robert Morris University

Two Virginia teens have turned their passion for esports into college scholarships. Ayden Price and Landon Stewart, high school students at Virginia Virtual Academy, an online public-school program, have each been awarded $4,000 esports scholarships from Robert Morris University to enroll at the university and continue their gaming careers.

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Esports, the world of competitive, organized video gaming has grown into a worldwide phenomenon. The sport engages more than 530 million fans and offers endless opportunities and benefits for its participants, including skill building, career exploration, and college scholarships.

Robert Morris University was among the first higher education institutions to offer esports scholarships. Now, ESPN reports that more than 125 colleges are offering varsity esports and awarding more than $15 million in scholarships annually.

Upon acceptance of an RMU Esports scholarships, the student agrees to compete for RMU Esports every semester and keep their grades above the NCAA standard limit of 2.0. Ayden and Landon were offered scholarships for their technical abilities, as well as their mentality and potential.

“Students earn scholarships by showing poise, maturity, and coachability,” said CJ Bakaj, head coach of RMU Esports. “Building a culture is important and we do that with every single recruit that walks through the front door at RMU Esports.”

For Ayden and Landon, their careers in esports began with Stride, Inc.’s (NYSE: LRN) esports program, Stride Esports. With courses, camps, and tournaments in Minecraft© Design, Scratch Coding, Esports Skills Coaching, Fortnite, Rocket League, Fall Guys, and more, Stride Esports introduces young gamers of all ability levels to a variety of games and skill-building opportunities.

Along with creating education and career-advancing opportunities, participating in esports can help young people boost confidence, develop collaboration and teamwork skills, improve problem solving skills, and foster lifelong friendships.

“With Stride Esports, we’re excited to be on the forefront of turning esports into opportunities for students,” said Karen Ghidotti, Senior Vice President of Customer Experience at Stride, Inc. “We are taking games that our students are playing and creating a competitive opportunity for them to learn necessary life skills, like teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving. Our students are flourishing.”

For details and a full schedule of Stride Esports Tournaments and events, visit

About Virginia Virtual Academy

VAVA is available tuition-free to students state-wide, giving families the choice to access the engaging curriculum and tools provided by Stride, Inc. (NYSE: LRN), one of the nation’s preeminent tech-enabled education companies. For more information about VAVA, visit

About Stride, Inc.

At Stride, Inc. (NYSE: LRN), we are reimagining learning—where learning is lifelong, deeply personal, and prepares learners for tomorrow. The company has transformed millions of people’s teaching and learning experiences by providing innovative, high-quality, tech-enabled education solutions, curriculum, and programs directly to students, schools, the military, and enterprises in primary, secondary, and postsecondary settings. Stride is a premier provider of K-12 education for students, schools, and districts, including career learning services through middle and high school curriculum. For adult learners, Stride delivers professional skills training in healthcare and technology, as well as staffing and talent development for Fortune 500 companies. Stride has delivered millions of courses over the past decade and serves learners in all 50 states and more than 100 countries. More information can be found at,,,, and



Emily Riordan

Director, Corporate Communications

Stride, Inc.

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