When Queen Emma Kaleleonālani founded St. Andrews Priory School in 1867, she did so because she wanted young girls on the island to receive just as good an education as the boys. Now, over 150 years later, that means the girls of St. Andrews compete for the Spring 2020 Hawaii League of Legends championship.
We love hearing from all the different schools, students, and experiences that come together to compete on our platform. So, we reached out to the St. Andrews team and their coach to hear what they think about esports, competing for their school, and women in gaming.
What was your reaction when you heard about the possibility of playing LoL for your school?
I was absolutely ecstatic. I’ve been playing since middle school and watching my older sister getting sucked in for some years before that. I was kind of shocked that a small all-girls school in Hawaii would be eligible because usually opportunities such as these are only available to the continental US.
I honestly jumped at the opportunity. I was immediately ready to go and very excited!
On my way into school, my coach asked me "you like video games right?" and I replied "yes?" She then told me about the possibility of starting an Esports team for our all-girls school. I was ecstatic because I've always enjoyed playing video games, and I've played League of Legends in the past.
Kira Ann Abe
I was intrigued by the possibility of playing League of Legends for the school; I've never played League before and I wanted to try it out with people I'm familiar with.
I was amazed! I didn't ever imagine that I could officially play video games, something that I do for fun, competitively on my school's team.
Coach Danelle Landgraf
Truthfully, I was skeptical. I was unsure of the benefits it would have to the students. Once I started coaching the team, I realized it brings together the students and creates the same team comradery as in any other sport.
How long have you been into video games?
I have been into video games as long as I can remember. My father had two old PC’s that he let my sister and I borrow on our free time, which was plentiful growing up. My sister moved onto her red Nintendo Gameboy color and I stuck to the CDs. It wasn’t until we accumulated stacks of completed CD games until my sister explored the world of internet gaming and introduced me to my first MMORPGs, Blade and Soul, Grand Fantasia, and MapleStory. From then on it journeyed off into Facebook games and year 2013 (Season 4) my sister began playing League of Legends and I began to play during 2014. My sister has been the main gateway to my gaming experience, and she has been the inspiration driving me forward competing in games such as League.
Playing video games so much has inspired me to become a Game Designer. They helped shape who I am today, and I hope to help create something beloved like the Legend of Zelda series in the future. I want to make something people will enjoy and get a wonderful experience out of like I have gotten from so many different video games.
Kira Ann Abe
I've been into video games for as long as I can remember, however, I'm more of a single-player person and tend to avoid more multiplayer heavy games.
I've been into video games ever since I was a little girl, console video games, and I've been more interested in trying newer computer games. I'm more into story and horror games, rather than online battle arena type games (at least on the computer), but playing LoL has been a really fun experience, and I want to continue even after the season is over.
Do you think being a girl has affected your gaming experience in any way?
When I play online multiplayer games like League of Legends and CS:GO, I often get hated on for being a girl. There is this stereotype in the gaming community that girls can't/don't play video games, and I've had to deal with that stereotype. During games, I've been asked, "Are you a girl??" when I speak in the voice chat like girls aren't allowed and are this rare species. I've even been hated on more for making a simple mistake that some other players made all because I am a girl. Like I've said, I am not the best player, but I feel that lack of confidence comes from years of being treated as lesser than boys that play video games that I play, and no one should have to feel like that. But, all of that doesn't stop me from enjoying video games. Nothing will.
I definitely believe that being a girl plays a huge role in the treatment I get online. I had been playing against an opposing team once and they had asked me if I was boy or a girl, as if being a certain gender affected my ability to play a game. I chose not to answer so that I could see how they treated me. To no surprise, they had assumed I was a boy and that had been it. To say things like “play like a girl,” or “do things like a girl,” is offensive. Gender has no effect on playing skills or style.
When I played in my solo games it couldn’t have been better. It wasn’t until I moved onto internet gaming and more team-oriented gaming that it struck me. I was in a survival game mode in Left 4 Dead 2 and was playing Rochelle, as I always do. Then when all the players entered, there was one male player that kept killing me even before the game started and kept saying through the voice chat, “This isn’t a game for girls like you.” “Why can’t b****es like you just go off the face of the earth.” Then when I moved onto playing League, it was a cycle of similar occasional remarks. I believe that our team empowers women and proves that girls can do the same things as guys even though LoL is a predominantly male sport. And hopefully in the process, our team will encourage more girls to play video games just like my older sister has done for me.
St. Andrews Priory is competing for a Hawaii championship this spring and we look forward to their growth as teammates and as a program.
Keep an eye on this space for more spotlights of all the impressive young people that make high school esports so exciting.