BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — On Tuesday, J. K. Haynes Charter School cuts the ribbon to its new Esports program, kickstarting new opportunities for its students.

“We are here to provide innovation and creativity for the students of J. K. Haynes,” said J. K. Haynes Charter School Director Kimberly Haynes.

The program is set up to ignite inspiration in the children to build future careers in STEM.

Students, faculty, and community leaders waited patiently for the unveiling of the new esports program. Haynes explained this program is more than just playing games.

“The gaming is fundamental, that’s a new age, that’s the future, and so we are here to help cultivate the future leaders of tomorrow,” she said.

But they couldn’t cut the ribbon without the help from a special guest, the jolly man in red, Mr. Saint Nick.

“In this season of giving, with everything that is going on in the world, we just figured Santa Clause would bring a couple of smiles to our students and to our guests because I saw some of our grown-ups getting excited about Santa coming around the corner,” Haynes gleamed. “I was like a kid in a candy store to see Santa Clause come and have a sheriff escort, now that’s pretty exciting.”

She said they are one of a few schools leading its students to the future.

“We are probably one of a couple of schools, I know the only charter school, but one of a couple of elementary schools in addition to Southern University laboratory school, that would have such a dedicated room for this very thing.”

All 160 students will have the opportunity to learn and grow from the program.

“We want them to come back and say, ‘hey, we are learning while we are having fun, we are learning while we are engaging, we are learning while we are learning our culture.'”

Haynes said this vision would not have become a reality without the support from the community.

“It takes a village to run a school and so we definitely had our village and we are very, very appreciative of everyone who came out and supported us,” Haynes said.