Cyber Victory

MV dominating the NCS Competition

Aya Kasim, Editor-in-Chief

On April 5-7, 35 Medina Valley students competed in the National Cyber Scholarship (NCS) Competition. The online Capture the Flag event was a series of puzzles and challenges that tested competitor’s skills in “password cracking, reverse-engineering, memory corruption and cryptography.” Though several MV students ranked in the top 600, their finalist status and whether they won a scholarship will be announced on May 18.

“I’m proud that 35 MVHS students qualified as National Semi-finalists through CyberStart America and that many of those students took advantage of the opportunity to compete for scholarships in the NCS competition,” computer science teacher Julianne Webb said. “I look forward to the announcement of winners next month.”

This was the fourth year Medina Valley competed in the NCS competition, but the first that was open to both boys and girls. Previously, the competition was held by Girls Go Cyberstart until the program’s recent rebranding to Cyberstart America to be more inclusive. 

“Although I understand that it was supposed to bring more girls attention into the cyber Security/Computer Science line of work, I am glad that I could participate in it,” senior Henry Nino said. “I plan to go into the cyber security field and this competition helped me understand how to use some programs, web exploit websites, and use cryptography which is important knowledge to understand.”

To have qualified for the competition as a national semi-finalist, Medina Valley players had to complete 20 percent of the CyberStart America game–an introduction to the competition format and areas of study. Semi-finalist became finalists by ranking in the top 600 in the competition held over a three-day period. This year, the competition had 3,277 qualifiers. 

“I placed 163rd nationally, making me a finalist in the scholarship competition,” senior Grace Simonson said. “I was surprised I made it that far–I only completed about 30 percent of the game. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to get a scholarship, even if I don’t win. I’ve been playing CyberStart all four years of high school, so it’s cool to see it pay off.”

Wish good luck to all finalists as they await their scholarship status!