Lafayette CyberPatriot Team places third in State


Jack Weaver

In Jan. 2020, Lafayette’s CyberPatriot team took part in a nation-wide competition and received a platinum rank, one of the highest awards on a state level. The five members of Cyber Lancers 2 worked to secure computer systems from potential threats.

Alex Vancil, Cartoonist

With the constant development of technology, more and more people are finding the internet as something they use every day. Of course, in the huge sea of online users, there are bound to be some people that make the internet a dangerous place. Theft, blackmail and hacking are becoming more apparent, but that’s where students involved with the CyberPatriot program come in.

CyberPatriot is a national competition where teams of six students work together to identify and fix vulnerabilities on fake softwares called “images.” Each participant has a different image task that they must complete, from user interfaces to firewall and security maintenance.

“It was fun learning new stuff,” senior Nathaniel Reed said, “I learned how binary works and how to set up routers and switches to be able to send information to each other.”

Reed is one of six members of Lafayette’s competing team, Cyber Lancers 2, which earned third place in State this year and earned a platinum-tier rank. Earning this rank means they performed in the top 30 percent of all Missouri teams. 

“Every year, we are improving so much,” senior Josh Luter, another member of Cyber Lancers 2, said. “This year is the closest we’ve ever got to going to D.C. and competing nationally.”

The competition also helps those who are interested in following a career path in computer sciences. CyberPatriot offers summer education opportunities called CyberCamps that teach basic cybersecurity and offer other STEM options.

Even though Lafayette’s CyberPatriot team this year only had members from the ROTC program, any student can join. The team coach, Colonel James Smith, and Sergeant Matt Zahradka both want to see more students from around the school getting involved with the program.

“We would love to have students with an interest in cybersecurity,” Zahradka said. “It’s just one more thing we can offer the Lafayette community.”

The Cyber Lancers hope to do even better than this year in the future so that they can go to Nationals and compete against other teams from around the country, hopefully with a wider variety of students on their team.

“That’s always part of sharpening our sword,” Smith said. “whenever we get to a certain level, take that rock and chuck it further.”