WASHINGTON, Oct. 24 — Protect Our Power, one of the nation’s premier advocacy organizations devoted to ensuring the nation’s power grid is made more resilient against potential attacks, has awarded monetary prizes to the winners of this year’s National Governors Association Capture the Flag Cyber Challenge.

Students from Richardson High School near Dallas won the competition; a team from Oakton High School in northern Virginia captured second place; and students from Langley High School, also in northern Virginia, and Whitefish Bay High School north of Milwaukee partnered to capture third place. Protect Our Power delivered checks of $2,500, $1,500 and $500 to the first, second and third place teams respectively. More than 1,200 students from 312 team in 27 states took part in the competition, which demonstrates the growing emphasis on cybersecurity in America’s schools.

The Cyber Challenge was sponsored in part by the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center, which offers grant funded cyber, STEM and computer science curricula and professional development to K-12 educators at no cost.
Protect Our Power was among the sponsors of the awards ceremony held last spring at the National Governors Association’s National Summit on State Cybersecurity in Shreveport, La.

“Protect Our Power is delighted to recognize the achievements of high school students who care about our nation’s cybersecurity,” said Protect Our Power Executive Director Jim Cunningham. “The need to protect our nation’s critical
infrastructure from cyber-attacks is urgent, as is the need to commit resources to the education of young people who will be on the front lines of our nation’s cyber defense in the years to come. Protect Our Power welcomes the opportunity to support educational efforts that have a positive impact on the long-term security of our nation’s infrastructure, including our all-important electric grid.”

“Every school that participated did an outstanding job,” said Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, who serves as co-chair of the NGA’s Resource Center for State Cybersecurity. “This competition tested the students’ creativity and knowledge within a short period of time. Hopefully, it has given them an even greater desire to pursue this field of study as they continue their education and possibly as a career. Congratulations to everyone.”

Earlier this year, President Trump issued an executive order on America’s cybersecurity workforce. It states in part, “The United States Government must support the development of cybersecurity skills and encourage ever-greater excellence so that America can maintain its competitive edge in cybersecurity.” Among the imperatives identified in the executive order is, “To align education and training with employers’ cybersecurity workforce needs, improve coordination, and prepare individuals for lifelong careers.”

Media Contact:
Steve Kerekes | Protect Our Power