by Jesse Mitchell, staff writer

October 2021 — A number of seniors at Bio-Med Science Academy are undertaking more responsibilities, all while facing challenges in their academics and extracurriculars. Senior Zachary Kelly, who has stepped up to do more in his extracurriculars, has taken on a leadership role on the Bio-Med esports team.

Tenth-grader and esports player, Logan Cook, looked to Overwatch team captain, Zachary Kelly, for advice and guidance in the esports team’s match against Trumbull Career and Technical Center. Kelly assisted in setting up the new PCs in the newly created esports lab at Bio-Med and getting the team ready for their first match of the season.

After the departure of ninth-grade programming teacher Mr. Alex Wolfe, Mr. Aaron Ettinger, the eighth-grade English language arts teacher, took over as the esports team’s new adviser.

Kelly commented on this, saying, “I’m happy that Mr. Ettinger is taking a laid back approach so much so that he’s not being strict or anything like that [and] more letting the club be led by others.” This has allowed Kelly, along with juniors Aidan Veney, Tyler Willard, and sophomore Nathan Jimenez to step up and help lead the club.

Kelly’s role on the esports team is as captain of the Bio-Med Overwatch team and community manager for the club. His duties include communicating with the club adviser, Ettinger, managing the club’s Discord channel, and working with the club’s other competitive teams in different games. This season, Bio-Med’s esports teams chose to field three competitive teams. These teams compete in the games Rocket League, Super Smash Bros, and Overwatch.

This season Kelly, as he has for the past two years, will lead a team of seven students in competitive Overwatch gameplay. The team consists of students from grades ranging from ninth grade through twelfth grade. Kelly has learned a lot through his time in esports working with such a large variety of students. He has had to develop unique strategies to help connect with such a diverse group of students.

Kelly stressed the importance of “just still using maturity… being able to connect to [his team] using different pop culture ideas such as memes, hot topics, or video games in general,” to help connect with the team.

The Overwatch team started the season with a win in week two of competition against Trumbull Career & Technical Center Sept. 31, 2021. After the team’s swift three to zero victory, Kelly spoke about the team’s performance, proudly stating he liked “how much [they] work together. [They] had some good communication there.”

For the past two years, Kelly’s team has consistently missed league playoffs but he feels “confident with [their] winning ability and going into playoffs this year.”

Kelly has had to balance his work with the club and his responsibilities as a senior. Kelly, who doesn’t yet have a job, dedicates his free time to school, his senior internship, and practicing for the esports team. However, he doesn’t see esports as a burden but, “a break from school most of the time, so it allows [him] to have [his] safe place while paying.” For years, esports and playing video games have provided Kelly with the opportunity to express himself and has been a source of enjoyment and a needed break from school work.

Kelly’s time this year has been more limited since he is now interning at the Akron Aero Design Team. “I like airplanes,” said Kelly, citing them as an inspiration for future career endeavors. Kelly plans to study to become an aerospace engineer at The University of Akron, where he has hopeful plans to join its esports team, and continue playing Overwatch competitively, much like he has at Bio-Med.

With this being Kelly’s last year at Bio-Med, he is excited to pursue future endeavors, but after four years, he’s going to miss the time he has spent at Bio-Med. Thinking back on his time at Bio-Med, Kelly has had some stand out memories including: sophomore year being “kind of sleep deprived,” and teachers like Ms. Janna Mino, whose teaching skills and dedication to Bio- Med he appreciated. In this final year, Kelly’s motivation has been achieving a high grade point average (GPA), and finishing strong for his esports team. He plans to give it all he’s got to be a leader and an inspiration to a new generation of Bio-Med students and esports players.

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