Punahou Cybersecurity Club Makes its Mark

The Cyber Educational Leadership Team, formally the CyberPatriot team, is excelling in competitions this school year. The club at Punahou is part of the Air & Space Forces Association’s STEM program, where students in grades 6 – 12 learn cybersecurity skills and about STEM careers crucial for the U.S.

As part of the club, students compete in cybersecurity competitions in three divisions: JROTC comprised of JROTC cadets), Open (for any student) and Middle (for middle schoolers)

In November, the JROTC team took first place at the AFCEA TechNet Indo-Pacific statewide competition in Honolulu. This significant conference gathers military and industry leaders to discuss defense policies and challenges in the Asia-Pacific, focusing on cyber operations.

The JROTC and Open teams all excelled in the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, part of CyberPatriot, where middle and high school students act as IT professionals, managing a company’s network.

The JROTC team placed as one of the highest in the state. Their performance in the December CyberPatriot XVI competition positions them for potential national-level competition. They are now one of 10 Army JROTC teams globally and the only Hawai‘i team advancing to the next level, leading to national finals.

The upcoming semi-final, from Jan. 18 – 20, involves advanced cyber protection tasks, including securing various computer systems, a web challenge, and a Boeing Cyber-Physical system challenge. The top two Army JROTC teams will win a fully paid trip to the Maryland National Finals in March.

Congratulations to the Punahou JROTC team, which includes Isaac Verbrugge ’25, Kealoha Comcowich ’25, Joshua Yang ’25, Damien Dinh ’25 and Chase Nam ’27, coached by volunteers John Martin (First Hawaiian Bank) and Brian Hoole (Punahou Infrastructure Engineer). Kudos as well to the two Open teams that competed.

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