D214 teams earn top spots in state cyber security competition

High School District 214 students continue to lead the way in cyber security competition, with a pair of D214 teams earning first and second place in state finals held Dec. 6. Both teams will get back to work in the new year, with a chance to qualify for national competition.

A team composed of John Hersey and Wheeling high school students and coached by computer instructor Tom Polak took first place honors in the Platinum Tier, the highest level of competition. They edged by only four points a Rolling Meadows team coached by CTE teacher Mike Drenth. Both teams now stand within the top 100 teams in the nation, among more than 2,500 teams involved in this round.

Competing for the winning team were Kevin Patino, Eleanor Sherrett and David Nesterenko of Wheeling and Andrew Dickey and Joseph Szubski and Nick Newman of Hersey. Rolling Meadows team members are Minh Duong, Anita Konopka, Rebecca Phillips, Kamil Podgorski, Robert Voss and Audrey Wheeler.

In cyber security competition, students apply their skills at protecting computer network systems against vulnerabilities and possible attack. Students are tasked with identifying such vulnerabilities while maintaining critical services during a six-hour period.

Cyber Security competition has become a popular and important stage for high school students because it combines potential career opportunities with the opportunity to find and apply solutions to a threat that potentially affects anyone who relies on digital information - meaning virtually all individuals and businesses.

Initiated by the Air Force Association, the CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Education Program was created to excite, educate and motivate students toward careers in cyber security and other science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines critical to the nation's future.

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