"I’m proud of the students because you can tell that as members of the JROTC, they are high on discipline, very focused and attentive.”
This time they are at the front of the class, mentoring and coaching students in a worldwide cyber security challenge. The eight students, members of the MacArthur High School Junior ROTC, were more than up for the challenge. For these cadets, going the extra mile is all part of their military training.
“Our partnership with Broadway Bank has definitely provided us with the tools for our success in the program. From physical equipment and fast internet access, to the guidance that Sonny and Paul have provided on their own time. Our team is forever grateful for this. Sonny and Paul’s presence and guidance has also shown us how important securing network and OS vulnerabilities is in the real world,” said Cadet Major Pedro Jusino, one of the MacArthur and Broadway Bank CyberPatriots.
In this case, the challenge is the 10th annual Cyber Patriot competition and with the coaching from Broadway Bankers, Sonny Montiel, Network Security Officer, and Paul Guido, Systems Engineer the team is performing 6th in Texas against a field of 309 teams and 70th in the nation in a field of more than 1,700 teams.
“I’m proud of the students because you can tell that as members of the JROTC, they are high on discipline, very focused and attentive,” said Montiel. He added, “They also are team-oriented and are very respectful of each other and work hard together.”
On competition day, the CyberPatriots sets up shop at Broadway Bank taking full advantage of 90-inch screens, high-speed internet, endless snacks and unlimited moral support. The team is led by MacArthur High School Junior ROTC instructor and Army veteran, Lawrence Garcia, Major, retired.
“Sonny and Paul are very important to our team. In fact, I would consider them as members of this team. They sacrifice their own time to assist us in our endeavor in the program and they train our cadets to be one of the best CyberPatriot units in the nation,” said Garcia.
The Broadway Bank CyberPatriots tackle cyber scenarios during the rounds of competition with a strict time limit of six-hours. During that time each team must remediate as many vulnerabilities as possible on the provided computers and complete a networking test. The problems to solve get progressively more difficult in every round of the competition.
“Sometimes they work down to the wire and we remind them to start wrapping up and give themselves time to close down. There are penalties for not hitting the six-hour mark,” said Guido. “I am beaming with pride to watch these kids do this work,” he added.
So, every Monday, Guido and Montiel take a field trip to MacArthur High School and spend time with these extraordinary students. Prepping them for competition is an honor for them as they look to them to carry the cyber security torch. The next competition is January 19, and the MAC CyberPatriots are poised to continue on to national competition and clearly on to very bright futures.
“My team and I look forward to the challenges that the program provides us and it has also opened doors for us. It led to my opportunity to work at HEB as an information solutions Intern and it has influenced me to pursue a career as a Cyber Warfare Engineer in the U.S. Navy. Also, I credit my involvement in CyberPatriot for the letters of acceptance I have received from Norwich University, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Texas A&M University and The University of Texas at San Antonio. I have also been awarded more than $200,000 in merit scholarships,” said Jusino.