B-P computer science students compete in state-level round of national cybersecurity challenge

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Computer science students at Broadalbin-Perth High School competed on Friday in the state-level round of a national cybersecurity challenge that tested their coding and network security skills. They successfully competed in the first two rounds of the Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Defense Competition earlier this year in order to advance to states. Heading into this third round of competition, B-P High School’s top performing team was ranked ninth in New York state.

B-P computer science and math teacher Billy Eipp said based on their current scores, B-P’s top teams are well positioned to make it past this round and into the national semifinal round. Results from Friday’s event will be formally announced within a week. More than 4,000 teams from across the nation have competed in this year’s event.

The competition puts teams of students in the position of newly hired IT professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company. Teams are charged with reviewing computer code to make it secure from a team of professional hackers.

Teams across the United States and Canada, as well as from Department of Defense Dependent Schools abroad, compete in a series of online rounds for a chance to earn an all-expenses-paid trip to the in-person finals competition in Baltimore, Md., in the spring. There, students have the opportunity to win scholarships and network with industry leaders.

B-P’s top performing team includes seniors Jarrett Albanese, Devin Becker, Jared Eipp, Justin Hertik, and Alex Loucks, and junior Jon Simmons. B-P is also represented by Brett Barker, Jaden Barkevich, Chris Buelow, Matthew Dobson, Ryan Gardner, Kade Garrison, Dylan Giblin, Zane Gromyko, Ryan Hertik, Alexander Loucks and Nathan Phillips.

According to code.org, just 35 percent of high schools in the United States teach computer science. Broadalbin-Perth is one of them. At the high school, there are currently four computer science classes, including three classes just for teaching students how to code using a programming language.

Eipp said several of his former students have pursued careers in the computer science fields. He said he has given interviews about former students to the Federal Bureau of Investigations as part of the agency’s clearance process for some of its top-level positions.

“These electives change students’ lives, whether they go into these fields or not,” Eipp said. “Advanced math and coding helps you think critically and be an innovative problem solver.”