“Our students continually rise to the occasion when presented with very challenging cybersecurity scenarios,” said Ben Dougherty, the Lakota Cyber Academy teacher who helped build the niche program when it first launched in Lakota’s high schools in 2019.
“I’m so proud of the work our students did in the fall and I’m excited to see what they accomplish in the spring season of National Cyber League. Their accomplishments are especially impressive given that they are competing primarily against college cybersecurity students,” Dougherty said.
Earlier this school year, Dougherty was named one of just two recipients of the 2022 Presidential Cybersecurity Education Award (PCE) by the U.S. Department of Education. Dougherty received his award at the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) K12 Cybersecurity Education Conference in St. Louis earlier this month.
The Lakota East student team’s number ranked 4th in competition with 482 other high school teams nationwide. Lakota West’s Cyber Academy team placed 27th among the contestants.
Lakota West senior Christopher Barber was one of just eight students recently recognized at a National Cyber Signing Day event, which celebrates high school students and recent graduates who have made their commitments to some of the state and country’s top schools and companies in their pursuit of a cybersecurity career.
Barber has already worked as an intern at Standex Electronics in Fairfield and plans to study cybersecurity at the collegiate level while playing basketball, according to a statement from Lakota officials.
“Many of the things I’ve encountered on this journey have been new opportunities for me,” said Barber. “I knew as a freshman that I could be interested in this computer science thing, but to see the plans I set for myself back then actually work out is still surreal.”