Local

February 7, 2014

CSMS CyberPatriots take third place in national semifinal competition

Tags:
Maranda Flynn
Staff Writer

From left, Justin McCrary, 13, Evan Scarborough, 13, Carson Rice, 12, Sabrina Pierre, 14 and Colin Owen, 13, members of the Colonel Smith Middle School CyberPatriots team, compete in round 2 of the CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Education Program Competition, in December, at Cochise College.

The Colonel Smith Middle School CyberPatriots, a seven-student cyber security team, competed in the Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot Middle School Cyber Education Program and finished third in the National Semifinals, which were held at Cochise College, Jan. 17.

This makes them the third in the nation, as only two teams will compete in the Finals in Washington, D.C.

“CyberPatriot is the premier national youth cyber education program created to inspire high school and middle school students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM, disciplines critical to our nation’s future,” according to the website, www.uscyberpatriot.org.

This year was the first opportunity for middle school students to participate in the program, which was previously open only to high school students since its creation in 2009.

With only three weeks to prepare, Smith Middle School ramped up the first-ever team to compete in the first round of the competition in November. With assistance from mentors in the local community, parents and Kay Hawkins, the team coach and secretary to the superintendent, Fort Huachuca Accommodation School District, or FHASD, the team soared through each round.

“They kicked national tail. While just shy of the championship round, third in the nation is pretty darn good. This is a real ‘wow’ moment,” said Jerry Proctor, deputy to Fort Huachuca’s commanding general.

CyberPatriots have been characterized as the heroes of the Internet. The program teaches them to detect security threats in software programs and on the Internet, and correct them.

Students at Colonel Smith Middle School line up and cheer in support of the CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Education Program team as they leave for the Semifinal round of the competition, Jan. 17. The competition increases awareness and introduces techniques that protect personal information online.

“For the most part they are doing what any IT personnel would be doing if they were to walk up to a computer and be told, ‘This is doing something funny, fix it,’” Hawkins explained.

During each round, the students’ goal is to improve the security of one or more virtual machine images. Improving security requires all of the following: maintaining critical services, hardening critical services, fixing vulnerabilities and removing malware from the systems.

Examples of vulnerabilities the teams may have experienced during the competitions include: software updates, prohibited files, digital forensics and advanced Windows security settings.

“The vulnerabilities aren’t as obvious as middle school students would like them to be,” Hawkins explained. “They don’t get a list of ‘fix this.’ What they get is a readme file that gives them a story or a background … and they have to find and fix the problems.”

Bonnie Austin, superintendent, FHASD, expressed great pride in the team members’ accomplishments. “It really was amazing what they could figure out,” she said.

“Sometimes with very high achieving students, they come in already mastering what learning you are putting in front of them. This is such an example of raising the bar to them, and they were challenged. It just fed into that learning process.”

The Smith Middle School CyberPatriots team consisted of: Justin McCrary, 13; Evan Scarborough, 13; Carson Rice, 12; Sabrina Pierre, 14 and Colin Owen, 13.

It wasn’t just the staff and leadership that were proud of the team — on the morning of the Semifinals competition, all students who are enrolled at Smith Middle School gathered outside and formed two lines, creating the path to the bus and cheering the CyberPatriots on as they departed for the event.

Even though they didn’t make it to Finals this year, that isn’t defeating these determined students. “They are already excited to begin competing in the next season and recruiting new team members,” Austin said. “This has been an outstanding accomplishment for this newly formed team.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Clay and Laura Murray

First major Arizona wildfire of 2014 burns in Huachuca Mountains

Clay and Laura Murray This photo of the Brown Fire was taken on Monday evening from Mott Circle on Fort Huachuca. As of Fort Huachuca Scout press time Thursday, firefighters were still working to contain it. A wildfire, the Bro...
 
 
Maranda Flynn

AAFES making small changes for customer satisfaction

Maranda Flynn L&A Southern Style Bar-B-Q, currently located inside Armed Forces Bank, will be relocating to the food court inside the Fort Huachuca Exchange in the next few months. It will replace Manchu Wok, which is clos...
 
 
Courtesy of Glenn Gaskins

Son of Army retirees is top of his league

Courtesy of Glenn Gaskins Najee Gaskins, 16, participates in the Arizona Junior Fall Classic, a baseball showcase held last October in Peoria, Ariz. Playing second base position, he ranks number four in the state and 60th in th...
 

 

Fort Huachuca Exchange shoppers have their say April 24 – May 17

In an effort to constantly improve the level of service provided throughout its facilities, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service relies on an ongoing Customer Satisfaction Index for localized, real-time snapshots of how successful the organization is at meeting the community’s needs. The survey, which addresses customer service, pricing, sales associate availability, merchandise assortm...
 
 
MOMC-2_2014.4

Post presents SASH Dash, celebrates Month of the Military Child

Family members visit the sand art table to make colorful creations during the Month of the Military Child event at Thunder Mountain Activity Centre Saturday. In addition to arts and crafts activities, children participated in c...
 
 
Brown-Canyon-Ranch-2_2013.10

Brown Canyon Ranch open house offers look into past

Inside the Brown Canyon Ranch home, visitors will tour an interior pertaining to the early 1900s. History buffs will also find more information on the families who owned the ranch. Go back to ranching days in Cochise County and...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin