WAHIAWA, Hawaii -- A local team of students from Leilehua High School is headed to the Washington, D.C., area March 22-24 as a finalist in the national championship round of CyberPatriot IV, the National High School Cyber Defense Competition.

Team members Mark Gitschlag, Jhalil Tyson, Viktoria NatalRoman and Selena Peebles -- who are all Army family members of parents stationed at Schofield Barracks -- will compete in the competition that replicates real-life cyber security situations faced by computer administrators.

The program, created in 2008 by the Air Force Association, provides teenaged students hands-on learning about cyber security.

"Each year this competition draws in very determined students who demonstrate great energy, motivation and excitement in their involvement with CyberPatriot," said Bernie Skoch, commissioner, CyberPatriot.

The Army JROTC team at Leilehua High School is one of 12 finalists for the competition's All-Service Division.

This year's two-track competition logged public, private and home school registrants

in the open division, while JROTC units and Civil Air Patrol squadrons filled the all-service division.

More than 1,000 teams registered to participate, representing all 50 states and U.S. Department of Defense Dependent Schools in Europe, the Pacific and Canada.

The All-Service Division began with more than 600 teams registered. After two rounds of competition, 40 teams advanced to round 3.

The teams earning finalist berths received all-expenses-paid trips to the CyberPatriot National Finals Competition in National Harbor, Md., where teams will compete face-to-face and defend virtual networks from a professional aggressor team.

"We have to congratulate all the students for their hard work," said Bernard Skoch, commissioner, CyberPatriot. "We look forward to the great amount of enthusiasm they will bring with them to the national finals competition in March."

CyberPatriot

CyberPatriot, a national high school cyber defense competition, was created to inspire high school students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

(Editor's Note: Spiridigliozzi is an Army retired lieutenant colonel and the senior Army instructor at Leilehua High School.)

Page last updated Mon February 13th, 2012 at 00:00