BRANDYWINE HUNDRED — St. Edmond’s Academy will be adding a facility for students to hone skills related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics with the construction of the Wagner-Szczerba Engineering, Design and Gaming Experience Arena. The school made the announcement to families on May 11.
The EDGE Arena is being named after Kathleen Wagner-Szczerba, an educator for 35 years and a supporter of St. Edmond’s, school officials said. It will serve as a dedicated space for students to hone STEM skills in a hands-on fashion. It will feature the latest technology where students will learn coding, design and engineering through “core curriculum and cross-curricular opportunities” such as data analysis, entrepreneurship and robotics.
Students also will have the chance to engage with industry professionals in a variety of relevant fields, the school said in a statement.
“My hope is that this new facility will reveal a new and emerging field, one that gets the students excited about learning, and hopefully inspires the next generation of inventors and innovators,” Wagner-Szczerba said in the statement.
The arena also will house St. Edmond’s Lancers E-Sports program, which will offer competitive game play, livestreaming, graphic design and marketing. School principal Michael Reichert said when he first heard about e-sports, “I thought it was students simply playing video games, but as I have learned more about this growing industry, I appreciate how it taps into the interests of this age group in particular while providing opportunities for social-emotional learning, innovative instructional experiences such as social media marketing, and collaborative problem-solving in one of the fastest-growing industries and emerging curricular pathways.”
Reichert noted that numerous high schools in Delaware offer e-sports and that the state has considered sanctioning official competitions.
The space will include a 75-inch interactive panel to allow for wireless projection, student interactivity and teacher-guided exploration of design, coding and robotic instruction, the school said. There will be 15 gaming computers, a Nintendo Switch, two 65-inch flat-panel televisions, and a collaboration pit.
The EDGE Arena is set to open this fall for the 2023-24 academic year. Head of school Dominic Maiorano said Wagner-Szczerba’s generosity “will undoubtedly help our students’ curiosity, spark their creativity and, hopefully, open up a whole new world of options and opportunities.”