Four teams of students from St. Croix’s high schools on Monday participated in CyberPatriot – the National Youth Cyber Education Program competition.
Students representing St. Croix Educational Complex, St. Croix Central High and St. Joseph’s High School took part, probed into the cyberspace educational venture at and at the University of the Virgin Islands.
CTEC Electronics and Computer Programming Instructor Gregory Christian prepared three teams for the first round of the competition under the mentorship of Laverne Stout. His teams were at a classroom at the Career and Technical Education Center for the competition. Coach Colleen Clarke and her all-girl team took the first leg of the CyberPatriot challenge at UVI’s St. Croix campus.
St. Croix’s teams, along with other teams around the globe participating in the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, were placed in the position of newly hired Information Technology professionals tasked with managing the computer network of a small company.
In this first round of competition, teams were given a set of virtual images that represented operating systems and were tasked with finding cybersecurity vulnerabilities within the images and hardening the system while maintaining critical services in a six-hour period.
Top scoring teams in the nation earn all-expenses paid trips to Baltimore, Maryland, for the National Finals Competition, where they can earn national recognition and scholarship money.
“It was very interesting and truly a historic day at St. Croix Career and Technical Education Center,” Christian said after the six-hour competition ended around 3:15 p.m. “Our students did their best. It is their first step into the ocean. Next year there will be significant improvement as we will continue with our virtual training program.”
Akyme Prince, an Educational Complex junior, said the competition was eye-opening and he intends to compete again next year if given the opportunity.
“I got a lot from participating in the competition,” he said. “I made new friends and learned how to work along with others to accomplish a common goal.”
The teams will learn their results in about five days.
Participating in the CyberPatriot competition at CTEC were Team 1 – Jhaleek Christian of St. Joseph’s High School and Akyme Prince and Zareik O' Farrell Williams of the St. Croix Educational Complex; Team 2 – Giovane Barnes, Alexia Adams and Joshua Ramsundar all of St. Croix Central High; Team 3 – St. Croix Educational Complex students Sherville Huggins, Lance Frank and Derwyn Austrie along with Jayme Colbert-Williams of St. Croix Central High School.
All girls’ team members participating at the University of the Virgin Islands were St. Croix Educational Complex students, DaRe'one Christopher, Kailee Clarke, Gelisa Evans and Mikaela Smith.
Some parents came out to show support for their children from an adjoining classroom.
“This activity presents an exciting hands-on venue for students to demonstrate their aptitudes in problem- solving, critical thinking, and decision-making through the targeted application of information and communication technologies and protocols,” said Everett Ryan, St. Croix District coordinator of technology for the Virgin Islands Department of Education. “With increasing worldwide demands for skillful individuals who can proactively monitor, defend, and if necessary initiate offensive cyber operations, initiatives like the CyberPatriot competition are pivotal in training the upcoming cadre of computer scientists and engineers.”