CyberPatriot Club allows students to begin exploring a career in the US Air Force

A new type of 21st century competition promoted by the US Air Force brings students together

Brooke Sheehy, administration beat lead

The CyberPatriot club is a part of the National Youth Cyber Education Program, which consists of the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition sponsored by the United States Air Force. The competition places both middle school and high school teams in a group of six in the acting position of a newly hired Information Technology (IT) professional with the specific task of managing the system of a small business.

In the rounds of the competition, teams are given a set of three virtual images that are meant to represent an operating system. They are given the task to find cybersecurity errors within all of the images while hardening the system in order to maintain critical services within a time span of six hours.

Founders senior Aidan Swann and 2018 EHS graduate Jack Hong first heard about the opportunity through their participation in Robotics while they were in Washington D.C. for the National Advocacy Conference. The EHS Cyberpatriot club was created in the 2017-2018 school year; however, they did not become officially registered to compete until this academic school year.

While each school can have as many teams of six as they desire, the registration period for this year is over, so the high school will only have one team of six competing in the Cyberpatriot Competition. This year’s competitors include Swann and five other individuals: seniors Annie Snyder, Andrew Hou, and Sai Tyada, and junior Aryan Jain.

Teams compete for the top placement within their state or region. The top teams in the nation will earn an all-expense paid trip to Baltimore, Maryland from April 7 to April 11 by the US Air Force to compete in the National Finals Competition where teams may earn acknowledgment for their accomplishments within the competition along with scholarship money.

“We will get to state for sure this year and hopefully qualify for nationals our first year,” Swann said as his team placed second in their first ever state competition this past weekend. There were eight teams in this regional division, and if EHS can stay at the top two for the next regional tournament, they will advance onto state for the platinum tier, which will allow the team to qualify for nationals.

The club has a minimal time commitment, with little to no training as they believe that the best training is through experiencing what it is like to compete; nevertheless, Swann suggests that each team member has a decent amount of experience troubleshooting Windows or other comparable system administration software.