Cadets of the Michigan City High School (MCHS) Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (MCJROTC) competed in the first round of CyberPatriot on Oct. 14.
CyberPatriot is the nation’s largest cyber defense competition that puts high school students in charge of securing virtual networks. One of the objectives of this program is to inspire students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation’s future.
The MCHS team is diverse, including Cadet Sergeant Alexandra Reed, a commander on MCHS’s Military Drill Team, and Cadet 2nd Lieutenant Tristan Sherwood, the starting right guard on the Wolves football team. Sherwood is applying for the Army ROTC scholarship (worth $180,000), plans on attending Purdue University in West Lafayette, and then plans on serving as a Cyber Security officer in the U.S. Army after graduation.
Major Tom McGrath, the Senior Marine Instructor, noted the tremendous opportunity the CyberPatriot program affords for MCHS cadets. “We are so fortunate to have Mr. Ralph Gee, the Technology and Engineering teacher on our MCHS staff. His expertise in the cyber field can be the catalyst to propel our cadets into a very rewarding and lucrative career in the STEM disciplines.”
The Marine Instructor, Master Sergeant Jeff Benak, also noted how valuable Gee’s knowledge is in inspiring the cadets. “Ralph is such an unselfish person who goes above and beyond in teaching our cadets, even though they are not enrolled in any of his courses.”
“Considering this was the cadets’ first CyberPatriot competition, they really impressed me as to how quickly they adapted to the technical intricacies required of managing a virtual network,” said Gee.
The Wolves will compete again in November and December. The December round will determine if the team qualifies to compete in future rounds. The national championship is held in the Washington, DC area. This activity, like all MCJROTC activities, are done at no cost to the student or MCHS. All expenses are funded by the Marine Corps.
In addition to CyberPatriot, the cadets will be busy through the Thanksgiving Break. They will continue to support the Wolves home football games through the playoffs. November is always a busy month, as they participate in patriotic ceremonies in conjunction with Veterans Day. This includes the ceremony MCHS will conduct on Nov. 11 at 1:30 p.m. in the school gym. This ceremony, which also involves the MCHS band and choir, is open to the public; guests should enter through Door J in the back of the school. Veterans are especially encouraged to attend, as all services will be honored. MCHS will also host a military drill competition on Nov. 12 in the school gym. Schools from throughout Indiana and Illinois will go at each other in different aspects of military drill. Judges will be midshipmen from the University of Notre Dame. The meet will be held from 8:30 a.m. to approximately 1:30 p.m. and is open to the public. Admission is free.