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March 30, 2012 > MSJHS students win big in Cyber Foundations Competition

MSJHS students win big in Cyber Foundations Competition

By Angie Wang, photos by Angie Wang

On March 16, Mission San Jose High School Junior Jeffrey Yuan, Senior Jeffrey Sun, and Junior Brandon Wu received awards for placing first, second, and third in the State of California competition of U.S. Cyber Challenge (USCC) Cyber Foundations Competition. Gary Page, California Department of Education (CDE) Information and Communication Technologies Sector Consultant arrived in Fremont that morning to present the awards.

USCC tests high school students throughout the nation on networking, operating systems, and system administration, the three most important facets of cyber security. Given a study manual a few weeks before tests were administered, students were presented with a series of online quizzes. These quizzes tested their ability to recall information on the study guide, analyze situations and diagnose problems. Students were also asked to offer effective solutions to real cyber security issues.

Page made a brief speech regarding MSJHS's recent successes in competitions such as Cyber Foundations. "With strong math and science teachers and the intent to do well and succeed, MSJHS students never fail to impress," says Page. "Chance favors the prepared mind. With preparedness and effort comes accomplishment." MSJHS Principal Sandra Prairie believes that her students "can make the impossible possible."

With the help of math teachers such as Matt Lazar, advisor of the Computer Club, MSJHS students hold eight of the top 25 spots in the nation, including 32 U.S. states and three U.S. Territories. Yuan placed first in the state and fifth nationally, receiving $250 as well as a $500 scholarship to a university of his choice. "After submitting my responses, I knew in my gut that I'd performed decently because I prepared pretty rigorously and had some prior knowledge of the material through past experiences. But the fact that I placed so highly was still such a surprise," Yuan says.

Wu, who placed third in the State of California, also had quite a bit of experience with computers before entering the competition. "In the fourth grade, I was the go-to guy teachers and administrators asked to fix the computers when they broke. Last year, I found out there was only one IT employee for the entire district, so I decided to help out at Chadbourne Elementary School," says Wu. Despite pressure to become a doctor, Computer Science is where Wu's heart lies.

"The students plan to participate in the next Cyber Foundations competition, which starts soon in 2012. They've done well in the past, and I expect them to do well in the future," Club Adviser Lazar says. "Though [Computer Club] is new to MSJHS's campus, the students are genuinely enthusiastic and passionate about participating in such a competition."

Photo Caption: (L to R) Winners Jeffrey Yuan, Brandon Wu, and Jeffrey Sun

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