Introducing Students and Community to Cyber Careers
Elk Grove, Calif., – The City of Elk Grove recently honored the high school students from Franklin High School who won the 2021 NorCalCyber Mayors Cup – Sacramento region. As part of the Mayors Cup competition, Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen, of Elk Grove, was presented with the Mayors Cup trophy by the Anime Club team members earlier in the day.
On Saturday, April 17, educators, industry representatives, students and local mayors celebrated the successful conclusion of the NorCalCyber Mayors Cup 2021, an annual event bringing together nearly 200 students from middle schools, high schools, and colleges across the region to compete in a single-day event. This year’s NorCalCyber Mayors Cup was held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The NorCalCyber Mayors Cup brings awareness to cybersecurity careers and provides students an opportunity to engage in team-based learning. The Sacramento County Office of Education and the California Community Colleges North Far North Regional Consortium hosted this year’s event. The event was organized by SynED, a national non-profit organization that identifies emerging best practices for effective articulation between employers, job seekers, and education providers.
“There’s a great need for more cybersecurity professionals and individuals with an understanding in the field.”David Gordon, Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools
Four Mayors participated in the event, including Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. He was joined by Andrew Coolidge of Chico, Jill Gayaldo of Rocklin and Gloria Partida of Davis. The competition “game” was hosted on the Cyber Skyline platform, the same platform that is used by the well-known National Cyber League (NCL).
“There’s a great need for more cybersecurity professionals and individuals with an understanding in the field,” Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools David Gordon said in an address to the students on April 17. “And I’m talking about smart, skilled and motivated young people just like you. …Right now, you’re standing on the edge of a new frontier, and the rest of us are counting on you to lead us safely into it, and I greatly appreciate all of you stepping up to this challenge.”
Top high school team
For the Greater Sacramento region, the Mayors Cup, given to the top high school team, was awarded to Anime Club from Franklin High School, under the guidance of Coach Christopher Shuping, from Elk Grove, CA.
The Franklin High School Anime Club team included Carmen Jimenez, Jason Huang, Mahmood Ikram, Kevin Lu, Ethan Ho, and Eric Lee.
“What I like about the Mayors Cup is it brings everyone together,” said Sean McNally, Cybersecurity Competition Coordinator at Elk Grove Unified School District. “It brings the student, the schoolteacher, the parent, the principal. It brings the superintendent, it brings the government officials like the Mayor, to the same table, and for a period of time we’re all talking the same language. We’re all learning what we need to do better.”
“By maintaining this annual Mayors Cup,” McNally added, “it allows us to revisit – Why do we need this, why is this so important, and why is it so important to all age groups in every industry? For the community at large it allows that conversation to take place, between the child and the parent, between the child and the educator, between the educator and the district official, and then also you can bring in the local government or the local media.”
“…we really admire the great work that our students are doing.”Jared Amalong, Director of Computer Science
Jared Amalong, Director of Computer Science and Distance Learning at the Sacramento County Office of Education, was excited to see the sense of community on display at the Mayors Cup. “It was the moment that I met the staff at the City of Sacramento Mayor’s Office, Mayor Darrell Steinberg, to pick up the Cup – this massive trophy – to deliver it to our Elk Grove mayor… It was that moment that I realized that there is a huge element of community in this. Just to see Mayor Steinberg greeting the students on Saturday, April 17, it was his weekend too, and the kids’ weekend. And just the joy on his face, and the authenticity of like, ‘yeah this is really important to us, and we really admire the great work that our students are doing.’ That was the moment where I was like, ‘wow, there’s a lot of power in connecting our community,’ and I hope we can grow on that.”
A perpetual Mayors Cup trophy is kept by the Mayor of the winning team’s city until the next competition. The NorCalCyber Mayors Cup included two regions that competed separately, the Greater Sacramento region and the Far North region. Medals were awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place for middle school, high school, and college students.
The month preceding the Saturday competition featured weekly “Live@5” events with speakers from academia, businesses, the cybersecurity industry, the community, and State and local government joining student and parents. Up to 50 attendees each week listened to the speakers address the importance of cybersecurity careers and how students can begin their journey to exciting, well-paid careers using the region’s cybersecurity career technical education pathway.
As many Live@5 speakers pointed out, most of the jobs of the future will require at least a basic knowledge of cybersecurity. The increasingly digital world we live in, and the threats that come with it, are already putting a premium on cybersecurity education and training.
The NorCalCyber Mayors Cup also serves the purpose of elevating the importance of cybersecurity education in today’s increasingly tech-heavy world, and bringing together community leaders and stakeholders in a way that focuses attention on the issue.
NorCalCyber Mayors Cup 2021 Winners
Greater Sacramento High School Winners
1st Place Anime Club from Franklin High School in the city of Elk Grove Mayors Cup Trophy
2nd Place DSHS Blue Devils from Davis Senior High School
3rd Place Tribulation @RocklinHigh from Rocklin High School
Greater Sacramento College Winners
1st Place Sierra Hackers from Sierra College College Cup Trophy
2nd Place SCC – IT Club Team 1 from Sacramento City College
3rd Place SCC – Team 2 from Sacramento City College
Greater Sacramento Middle School Winners
1st Place CyberBots from Toby Johnson Middle School
2nd Place (yb3r K!d$ from Jesuit High School Program
3rd Place Jaguar Security from Toby Johnson Middle School
Far North High School Winners
1st Place Pablo and the Other People from Chico Sr. High Mayors Cup Trophy
2nd Place RA 2021 from Redwood Academy of Ukiah
Far North College Winners
1st Place Red Team from College of the Redwoods College Cup Trophy
2nd Place BlueTeam from College of the Redwoods
3rd Place Team Mendocino from Mendocino College
Far North Middle School Winners
1st Place Cyber Warriors from Modoc Middle School