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Cumberland teaches cybersecurity

Students at Cumberland High School are participating in an interactive, engaging Cyber Camp this summer.

The camp takes place during the morning hours through June 28, according to Cumberland High School Principal Jeff Scales.

Currently, 23 of the 25 spaces for the camp are filled with students ranging from ninth to 12th grade, all with different interests or reasons to attend, said Camp Director Cheryl Davis.

“This camp allows students to understand and be a part of the global initiative of cybersecurity that impacts people all over the world. Students are receiving an opportunity that many students across the state do not get,” Davis said.

Along with Davis, Cora Tolliver is the program manager and there are several teachers involved: Myrna Barr, Dr. Lena Beloozerov, Colleen Barnes, Trae Shidell and David Sullivan.

The students participate in labs during the three weeks of camp and learn about cyber security-related topics such as electricity, robotics, cyber ethics and cyber literacy and humanities.

Though the camp is organized by Cumberland High School’s faculty, it is a part of a larger initiative funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

In February, Cumberland was chosen as a recipient of a $62,500 grant to be a part of a statewide movement to raise awareness about cyber security.

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) selected only 32 school divisions to participate in the camps.

Once the camp is completed successfully, the school division will be reimbursed for its participation. Campsites provide breakfast, lunch and two snacks.

The camp has to be open for up to 25 students, and instructors must teach for a total of 70 hours, providing students with appropriate instructional materials.

“The grant has made it possible to obtain resources that have truly enhanced the camp experience,” said Davis.

The Cyber Camp is making the experience interactive and fun for the students by taking them on several field trips over the course of the camp.

Davis said, “We haven’t forgotten that it is summer and they are having fun while they are learning.”

Students will go to Kings Dominion for a STEM Education Day. Davis said, “Students will have the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the basics of STEM education in a fun and interactive setting.”

She said students will learn about the physics behind roller coasters, measure angles of rides and structures in the park and use GPS points to maneuver through the park.

The students will also be participating in a Fort Lee Battle Lab where they will have the opportunity to observe the Army training initiative they have developed, Davis said.

“The need for security measures is not optional; it is crucial to ensure that financial, personal, and all types of information does not fall into the wrong hands. This necessity makes the field of cybersecurity a huge employment potential,” Davis said.

Shidell, one of the teachers, said, “I think it gives them opportunities that they would not typically have to be able to learn about the world of cybersecurity, current issues and even careers in the field.”