KHS pushing hard for possible national titles

by Ken Robinson Kaiserslautern High School Cyberpatriot and StellarXplorers

School Year 2016/17 has been a great year for the Raiders after-school science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs. Both the Cyberpatriot and StellarXplorers programs are in pole position heading into their upcoming decisive rounds of their respective competitions.

Cyberpatriot is the nation’s ultimate cybersecurity competition. With nearly 3,800 high school teams throughout the U.S. and parts of Canada, this competition is largest and most exciting computer competition of its kind. Students are tasked to secure and identify vulnerabilities amongst a range of varied client and server operating systems. Members must also configure a very challenging Cisco network scenario, all within a six-hour window.

The Kaiserslautern High School team, consisting of seniors Sam Donovan, Vincent Povilaitis, Danielle Boyd and Ramstein High School teammate Carlos Cordova, might just be the first Department of Defense Education Activity team to reach the national finals. This top team is currently ranked No. 2 of the 400 other Air Force junior ROTC teams. Only the top two positions in this Air Force JROTC category can attend the national finals, where they would meet top contenders from other categories such as Army JROTC and Civil Air Patrol. A total of 1,589 teams have been competing in this all-services division this year. The remaining 2,217 teams in the competition will be competing in the open division.

Interestingly, three of the four members of KHS’s top Cyberpatriot team are also very close to obtaining a spot at the StellarXplorers national space design competition. Their StellarXplorers team, “Buckets of Slaw,” is currently in 13th place and hope to move up an additional three spots for an opportunity to attend the national finals competition. Should these three KHS students be fortunate enough to qualify for both the Cyberpatriot and StellarXplorers national finals, a very important decision will need to be made, as both competitions will occur during the same week. If the trio decide to attend the StellarXplorers national finals in lieu of the Cyberpatriot finals, they do, however, stand a very good chance of going up against K-Town’s other top Stellar team the Scintillators.

The Raider’s top StellarXplorers team, the Scintillators, is currently ranked No.1 going into the semifinal round. This team has regularly outperformed all teams throughout the tournament, including all practice rounds. This team firmly believes that they have what it takes to win the national title this year. The team is led by senior Henry Hill and complimented with a handful of talented space-driven engineers, including seniors Rene Sahli and Bethany Salas and sophomores Karina Sahli and Justin Kockx.

Both the Scintillators and the Cyber-Stellar trio will be competing in the tournament’s semi-finals Feb. 24. Regardless of the outcome for either of these teams, the experiences and knowledge these students have received throughout the tournament will forever be remembered as a stepping stone towards their future and as great high school memories to share for many years to come.