KINGSPORT — A local high school’s four-member cybersecurity team recently finished first in the second-tier of gold and third in the open division of a statewide competition.

It marked the school’s first-ever Tennessee cybersecurity competition.

Dobyns-Bennett High School’s Tribe Bytes recently competed in the CyberPatriot XIII Cybersecurity statewide competition. The team competed in three rounds with each round lasting six hours, using evenings and weekends to learn things outside the normal curriculum and compete.

The National Youth Cyber Defense Competition involves teams of students across the United States, Canada and other schools abroad. They find and resolve cybersecurity vulnerabilities in simulated environments.

Members are seniors Vincent Salyer, Dominic Bembry, Logan Rogers and Ty Young. The team is sponsored by Nathan Bailey, a computer science and coding teacher at D-B.

Bembry, Rogers, Young and Bailey made a presentation to the Board of Education at its regular meeting on Tuesday evening, saying the competition included collaboration, problem solving, persistence and career preparation.

Young said the competition got the group to do quicker work. Rogers said that it had them in skills normally reserved for college-level study and Bembry said it sharpened problem-solving skills.

Bailey said the six-hour sessions, while intense, give students a change to flesh out college and career plans. “Often in class, it’s hard to carve that out,” Bailey said.

Superintendent Jeff Moorhouse said Blue Cross Blue Shield recently partnered with East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, which will offer a cybersecurity program.

Young said he is undecided on a major but loves computer work while Rogers said the cybersecurity team has helped him choose the ETSU cybersecurity program and Bembry said he plans to get a college degree and career in computer science.

Established by the Air Force Foundation in 2009, the CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Education Program is designed to inspire, excite, educate and motivate students to careers in cybersecurity and other science, technology, engineering and math disciplines.

Teams in the Open Division for public private and home school teams were categorized as platinum, gold or silver tiers. Other divisions, with the same three tiers, were the All Service Division for JROTC, Civil Air Patrol and Naval Seat Cadet Corps teams and the Middle School Division.

In the platinum category, Cookeville High and Hardin Valley Academy were first and second. Kingsport school board member Eric Hyche said the Cookeville team is assisted by his alma mater, Tennessee Tech.

In other action, besides approving $1,000 COVID-19 bonuses for most full-time employees and $500 COVID-19 bonuses for most part-time ones as previously reported, the board:

Awarded

  • a bid to the sole bidder to replace the two main Dobyns-Bennett High School electrical switchgears. The equipment dates back to the 1968 opening of the school and each switchgear covers about half the school and will take about a week each to replace in the summer.

The bid was $286,252, which when added to a 6% contingency of $17,175 would make the project- approved total $303,427.

Frye said the work would be done so as not to interfere with Fun Fest if that is held this year. He also said it would not affect the music building or football field electric service.

Accepted a Kingsport City Schools Education Foundation-funded teacher grant donation of $2,072 for 12 leaf drums for Washington Elementary School, proposed by music teacher Kristian Hefner at the school where Heather Wolf is principal.

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