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CCA’s Cybersecurity team competes at national finals

CCA cyber team
Coach Weidong Luo, Jason Liu, Joshua Charat-Collins, Selena Qiao, Katherine Huang, Arnav Vora, Justin Luo and parent chaperone Eileen Lu.
(Mike Tsukamoto/Air Force Association)

The Canyon Crest Academy Cybersecurity Team placed fifth in the nation at the CyberPatriot National Semifinals, earning an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington D.C., to compete at the national finals for the first time in school history.

The CCA CyberPatriot team, called Bieberbepis Mimicatz, includes seniors Jason Liu, Joshua Charat-Collins, Selena Qiao, Katherine Huang, Arnav Vora and junior Justin Luo. Weidong Luo serves as their coach.

CyberPatriot, put on by the Air Force Association, is the nation’s largest youth cyber education program, dedicated to strengthening cyber skills among American youth.

The competition challenges student teams to secure networks against cyber-attacks in a series of online competition rounds leading up to the finals. Teams are given virtual operating systems and configurations and tasked with finding and fixing cybersecurity vulnerabilities while maintaining critical services.

Nationals were held in March and teams from San Diego won all three divisions (Del Norte High School, Scripps Ranch High School Air Force JROTC, and Design 39 Campus).

“This accomplishment was an amazing way to finish off our time at CCA,” said Katherine, a senior who founded the team with Selena their freshman year with no coach or previous cybersecurity knowledge.

“Our school did not have a cybersecurity program before we arrived,” Katherine said. “Since we self-taught almost everything we know, and have been working toward this since freshman year, being able to make the national finals reflects four years of hard work and dedication.”

Katherine is headed to Georgia Tech this fall and Selena is going to MIT.

As the team has learned so much along the way, they hope to provide mentorship and encouragement to younger students to explore cybersecurity as well. This summer, they will be offering a CyberClass Summer Camp, to provide engaging, beginner-level classes for elementary and middle school students. More information can be found on their website: sites.google.com/view/cyberclassroom/summer-programs.


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