A team of high school students from Apollo High School recently concluded an exceptional round of competition in the seventh season of CyberPatriot – the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition.
Established by the Air Force Association, the CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Education Program was created to excite, educate, and motivate students toward careers in cyber security and other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation’s future.
CyberPatriot’s core program – the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition – challenges teams of two to six students across the United States and Canada, and from DoDD (Department of Defense Dependents) schools abroad, to find and resolve cybersecurity vulnerabilities in simulated environments. Top teams from the preliminary online rounds win an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the live National Finals Competition, where students compete for national recognition and scholarships.
The CyberPatriot field is divided into three divisions: The Open Division for public, private, and home school teams; the All Service Division for JROTC, Civil Air Patrol, and Naval Sea Cadet Corps teams; and the Middle School Division. Based on the results of two preliminary rounds, CyberPatriot VII high school teams were categorized within their divisions as Platinum, Gold or Silver Tier teams, with Platinum Tier teams representing the highest scoring teams.
In all, 2,175 teams registered to compete in CyberPatriot VII, including seven teams from Kentucky.
The AHS team is sponsored and coached by Jason Cunningham, who serves as a Computer Technician for the Daviess County Public Schools district. The Apollo team excelled in the CyberPatriot VII State Round on Dec. 5-7, demonstrating teamwork, critical thinking skills and technical knowledge, which are essential to a successful career in cybersecurity. The team’s performance earned it Kentucky’s First-Place Award.
Coach Cunningham said, “We are extremely proud of the kids this year. The competition is increasing in difficulty and variety. In previous years, we just cleaned up viruses and secured vulnerabilities in computer security. This year, our kids have had to hustle to learn skills in Cisco networking and configuring various network servers to provide specific roles in working environments. These kids definitely have the potential to continue working in the computer industry.”
The team captain is Christopher Cunningham. Team members are Kayla Ramos, Patrick Cunningham, Courtland “Cory” Williams, Dakota Hamilton and Tyler Fox.