A Norwegian High School Will Give Students Class Credit for Playing Video Games


Video game enthusiasts argue that hours spent in front of a TV with a controller in hand aren't a waste of time—and in many ways, they're not wrong. Studies have shown that video games are linked to increased fluid intelligence along with a host of other brain benefits.

While not everyone is convinced that Halo or Mario Kart are good for you, one Norwegian high school is jumping on the pro-video games bandwagon. According toArs Technica, Garnes Vidaregåande Skole public high school in Bergen, Norway, will begin offering its students an elective class in e-sports this August.

Instead of participating in more traditional sports like soccer or handball, the 30 or so students in the e-sports class will spend five hours a week studying their unconventional extracurricular of choice. But the pupils won't just spend the entirety of the three-year program just sitting around playing video games.

Dotablast reports that the course will include 90 minutes of physical training designed to improve reflexes, strength, and endurance—in short, the sort of physical skills and attributes that separate a great gamer from a so-so one. Teachers will also assess and grade students’ game knowledge, as well as things like teamwork and tactical abilities.

Computers, gaming chairs, and video cards will all be provided, but students will bring their own mice, keyboards, and headsets based on personal preference. A classroom has been set aside, but a curriculum hasn’t been determined quite yet. Games like Dota 2, League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, or Starcraft II are among the games currently under academic consideration.

[h/t ArtsTechnica]

100 Homeless New York City High School Graduates Are Bound for College


Youth homelessness in New York City public schools is at an all-time high. In October, The New York Times reported that one out of every 10 students in the city's public school system were without permanent homes. As the school year wraps up, a hopeful story has come out of that sobering statistic. More than 100 New York City teens without homes have graduated high school and are on their way to college.

The exceptional group from the graduating senior class of 2019 were honored by the Department of Homeless Services at a ceremony on June 27, ABC 7 reports. Alexus Lawrence, a student who spoke at the ceremony, is the valedictorian of her high school and the recipient of a $2000 scholarship for academic excellence. She's now set to attend in Brooklyn College to study to become a pediatrician. Ronaldino Crosdale spoke as well; he's headed to Baruch College in the fall.

"I didn't believe in miracles until I got here," he said in his speech. You can see more clips from the ceremony in the video below.

Each of the college-bound students received a duffel bag of school supplies, including laptops. Rising rent costs have contributed to the growing number of homeless students in New York City, which outnumbered the total population of state capital Albany, as of last fall. The instability of temporary housing can lead to chronic absenteeism and poor grades among students. But despite their circumstances, every year there are homeless students who beat the odds. Earlier this year, Brianna Watts, a Bronx high school senior living in a homeless shelter, was accepted to 12 colleges.

[h/t ABC 7]

Las Vegas Is Letting Drivers Pay Their Parking Tickets With Donated School Supplies

iStock/Ekaterina Senyutina
iStock/Ekaterina Senyutina

Summer has just begun, but officials in Las Vegas, Nevada, have already implemented a plan to get free school supplies to kids by September. As CNN reports, the city has agreed to waive parking fines for people who donate back-to-school goods like pencils and paper.

According to a news release from the city of Las Vegas, the new parking ticket payment program will run for a limited time. From now through July 19, Las Vegas residents with non-public safety parking violations can bring new school supplies to the Parking Services Offices within 30 days of the citation date to have their fines forgiven. The donated items must be unwrapped and come with a receipt of greater or equal value to the fine being covered. In addition to conventional school supplies like writing implements, index cards, rulers, scissors, and erasers, cleaning supplies like paper towels and disinfecting wipes will also be accepted.

All goods collected through the program will be donated to the Teacher Exchange, a nonprofit associated with the Public Education Foundation. Every school year, the organization collects surplus books, office supplies, and other materials that would otherwise get thrown out and distributes them to public school classrooms in southern Nevada.

Las Vegas's new school supplies initiative is predated by experimental programs in other cities that allow residents to make donations to pay parking tickets. For five years in a row during the holiday season, Lexington, Kentucky, has accepted canned goods as payment for parking fines to help replenish the local God’s Pantry Food Bank.

[h/t CNN]