A team of students from Valley Union High School in Elfrida, recently concluded an exceptional round of competition in the 10th season of CyberPatriot – the Air Force Association’s National Youth Cyber Defense Competition.
The event was held on the Cochise College campus in Sierra Vista.
Established by AFA in 2009, CyberPatriot is designed 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 students across the United States, Canada, and from DoDD schools abroad, to find and resolve cybersecurity vulnerabilities in simulated environments. Top teams from the preliminary online rounds earn an all-expenses-paid trip to Baltimore, Md., for the in-person 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 homeschool 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 X high school teams were categorized within their divisions as Platinum, Gold, or Silver Tier teams, with Platinum Tier teams representing the highest scoring teams.
Led by Coach Debra Claus-Walker and team captain Bruce Tassin, the team of five students (Bruce Tssin, Rickey Spence, Ethan Wells, Rebekah Claus-Walker and Audra Stinson) from Valley Union High School excelled in the CyberPatriot X State Round held Jan. 19-21, demonstrating teamwork, critical thinking skills, and technical knowledge key to a successful career in cybersecurity. The team’s performance earned it Arizona’s first place award and a spot in the Silver Tier Semifinal Round held this month.
“I am so impressed with this team. This is our first year competing and these kids are naturals in cyber-security. We were able to attend very little on-site training from our mentor Dan Guilmette (Cybersecurity Program Coordinator, CIS/Security Instructor at Cochise College-Sierra Vista), who has been invaluable supporting us with technology and online educational materials,“ Claus-Walker said.
Following the Regional/Category Round and Middle School Division Semifinals Round, top teams in the Open and All Service Divisions’ Platinum Tier and the top three Middle School Division teams nationally will advance to the CyberPatriot X National Finals Competition in Baltimore, Md., in April.
The Air Force Association is a non-profit, independent, professional military and aerospace education association. Our mission is to promote a dominant United States Air Force and a strong national defense, and to honor Airmen and our Air Force Heritage.