#cybersecurity | Westwood High School students land a spot in top ten cyber high school team for second year in a row

ISHPEMING, Mich. (WLUC) – For the second year in a row, Westwood High School has earned a spot in the Governor’s High School Cyber Challenge. The Westwood Patriots 1 Cybersecurity Team competed against 600 students for a place in the state final competition.

Four teams in total competed from Westwood High School in the challenge last week, but only one team made it into the Top 10, advancing them into the state final competition taking place on October 28 in Detroit.

“We are very excited by the continued successes of the cyber security students. Last year, we were in the top 10 in the state out of the 266 teams and this year we had a team make it in the top ten again and the competition has bloomed over 600 students,” said the Superintendent of NICE Community Schools, Bryan DeAugustine.

During the first round of competitions, students had four days to complete a series of multiple choice questions, testing their knowledge in programming, hacking and operating systems.

“This competition gives them a lot of skills in cyber security and the background information that relates to that. These students have been preparing and learning a lot of the skills that are necessary to be successful in the competition,” said Westwood High School business teacher, Ronalyn Arseneau.

Senior Aili Harmon competed in the competition last year and said the information she gained from the challenge will be a vital help for her career in the future.

“For the first round we can use any sort of resources we have, so it’s kind of like an open book test,” said Harmon, “And when I did the second round last year, we went downstate and we did what was called a ‘capture the flag’ challenge, where we were actually writing code and trying to find website inoperability.”

Last year, NICE Community Schools competed for a $2.47 million grant dedicated to cyber security curriculum. DeAugustine says that this competition made it worth it and shows that the school district is putting that money to good use.

“To have our kids just really dive into the curriculum and learn the ins and outs of this career field really makes us proud,” said DeAugustine.

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