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Washington Voices

Students show computer skills in national competiton

Thu., March 29, 2012

Spokane high schools had a strong showing at this year’s National CyberPatriot Championships in Washington, D.C., last week.

Teams from Lewis and Clark High School and John R. Rogers High School placed second in the two main divisions. Rogers also received the prestigious top service award, and Lewis and Clark won the open division in the forensics competition.

Four teams from Rogers and one team each from North Central, Lewis and Clark and Ferris high schools qualified for the final round. In other words, six of the 12 finalist teams were from Spokane.

“We had a blast,” said Master Sgt. Loyd Patton, coach of the Air Pirates Team from Rogers. “The CyberPatriot folks put on this great deal for us: a nice hotel, all the meals, sightseeing in D.C. – I can’t say enough good things about them.”

Last year, a team from Rogers placed fourth in the open division; no other Spokane schools were represented.

This year, Lewis and Clark Assistant Principal Theresa Meyer traveled with the school’s six-student team to Washington, D.C.

“Our goal is to make a return trip in 2013, because this was an incredible opportunity for the students,” Meyer wrote in an email. “They met and had great conversations with military leaders that are in charge of our nation’s cyber defense. The secretary of the Air Force visited with them, as well as the CEO and many vice presidents of Northrop Grumman. This isn’t something we can replicate in Spokane – so we’ll be back.”

CyberPatriot is organized by the Air Force Association and places teams of students in charge of protecting computer systems against virus attacks and hacking. The students have a set amount of time to solve a number of computer problems, as they are being continuously challenged by programmers.

There are two tracks in CyberPatriot: open division for public, private, parochial and home-school teams; and all service division for Junior ROTC units and Civil Air Patrol squadrons.

More than 1,000 teams nationwide initially entered the competition.

The nonprofit Air Force Association covered all costs for teams to attend the finals in Washington, D.C.

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