Club Spotlight: Cyber Patriots

While Kraemer Middle School offers a variety of clubs and activities, one, in particular, is the Cyber Patriots/Security club. Boasting over 100 club members, including students of both Valencia High School and Kraemer Middle School, students of any grade or knowledge of technology can join and compete in competitions. They secure and exploit systems in competitions and also practice ethical hacking as well. This club is a great chance for students to expand their exposure to technology and cyber-related security issues and better understand their own tech issues.

Like any other club, the Cyber Patriots/Security club has several officers and also has several teachers/staff in charge of it. Mr. Osborne, the Robotics teacher at Valencia High School, Mrs. Hogan, our school librarian, and Mr. Christiansen, the 8th-grade GATE science teacher at Kraemer, is the staff responsible for and the ones who support the club. The board was elected recently, and the final vote revealed that the president of Cyber Patriots was Connor G., a 12th grader at Valencia High School, and the vice president was Ryan K., an 11th grader also at Valencia. Furthermore, the secretaries are Evelyn Y. and Jimmy L., and the treasurers are Jonathan C., Alex (Joseph) K., and Shivum J. The last few roles are communications, which include Cody N. and Alyssa W., and historians, which are Elliot K. and Kerry W.

They recently held their first practice competition of the year at Valencia High School on Friday, October 8, where they stayed from 3:30 pm to 9-9:30 pm working on solving security issues in their images. These security issues can range from simple, like fixing a weak password, to complicated, where you have to dig deep into the image to find other alarming issues. Snacks and drinks were available at all times during the practice competition, and pizza was also served for those especially hungry. Real competitions are usually held on the weekends, from the morning to early afternoon. Free food and fun are offered at every competition so that students can relax from time to time before turning back to inspecting their images.

Some students currently in Cyber Patriots had a lot to say about what they enjoyed about the club and some things they disliked as well. Evelyn X. talked about how she liked how they actually get to participate in new stuff, like competition things, and how it’s more fun, and it gets them to explore new things. Regarding competitions, she deemed them to be fun, but very long, as it takes 6 hours for one competition or practice competition, and sometimes technical difficulties arise, and it’s hard to get used to at first. Another student, who wishes to remain anonymous, liked how they give out “free” snacks, but that, since she had something to do very early the next morning and competitions end at night, it was very busy for her. Lastly, Christopher W. expressed that “It’s very rewarding because when you finally finish something, you feel great, and also you get a lot of junk food. Incredible bonding time with your team.”

With all that being said, it is definitely a very valuable experience to join the club! New students or students who want to join the club can email  Mr. Osborne or Mrs. Hogan to get more details about the club and registration. Cyber Patriots meet every Wednesday after school, from 3:00-4:30 pm in room 801 at Valencia High School for meeting and working on NetLab. Additionally, if those students are from Kraemer, they can attend the PRIDE session every Thursday in Mr. Christiansen’s room (Room 503) to connect and practice with their teams. To join the club, students also need to pick their specialty, with the options being Windows, Linux, and Cisco. In competitions, students will need to work on their specialty’s image and train for that specialty only. Each team needs to have 5-6 people, with two people needing to work on Windows, and the rest can choose whatever they want. The club would love to have more people join and spread the knowledge of cybersecurity to future generations!