Ten Hocker Grove students are part of a group that forms the first Air Force Association (AFA) CyberPatriot STARBASE 2.0 program at a Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD) middle school. They formed two teams, Eagle 1 and Eagle 2
AFA CyberPatriot is a program developed by the United States Air Force to help solve security issues. The goal for the program is to introduce middle school students to this field as they begin planning for their future careers.
Students meet weekly and learn about cyber vulnerabilities, how to detect a virus, and how to troubleshoot both. They also work on team building, learn to support one another, and practice in a virtual setting. They are taught a series of lessons and then work through a virtual series of practice sessions to become adept in discovering security issues and correcting them.
The capstone of the program is competing virtually with teams across the country. STARBASE Kansas City was pleased with the outcome of the first year of the program and accredits the success to the dedicated students, coach, community mentors, and support of administration throughout the semester.
Todd Nafus, Hocker Grove and Shawnee Mission North Computer Dimensions and Financial Literacy teacher, is the teams’ sponsor and coach. Nafus shares, “For our first year, the students excelled.”
Mentors to the group include; Dr. Cheryl Cooper, CISSP, Sprint Corporation, sharing past experiences in AF Cyber Security, Beth Fritts, STARBASE Kansas City, Deputy Director; and James Laurie, HRIS, QTS Datacenters and a parent of one of the students. All joined the teams practice meetings and supported the group.
“Throughout the semester we observed students who may or may not have previously known each other, learn to appreciate each other’s strengths and put them to use for the success of their team,” Fritts noted.
Bailey Laurie, Hocker Grove eighth grader, shared that she appreciates being a pioneer of this opportunity and says that she, “wants to continue to learn more because this field is always changing and keeps me interested.”
Eagle 1 team finished in fifth place out of eight teams in Kansas and 392/803 total middle school teams in the country. This team includes Bailey Laurie, Hannah Lank, Oliver Weismiller, Christopher Sevieri, and Grayson Aikman
Eagle 2 team finished in sixth place with team members Donovn Moody, Joseph Mosely, (did not compete Henry Duff, Jared Anzures, Jack McCarthy).