CLEARFIELD -- A third-place finish in a national competition netted five Clearfield High School students a cool grand in scholarship money.
After four rounds of competition and nearly five months of preparation, members of the Clearfield High Junior ROTC team placed third overall in the finals of CyberPatriot III, the nation's largest high school cyber defense competition.
Led by JROTC senior instructor Kit Workman, the team includes five JROTC students -- Daniel Margrave, Eric Takacs, Braxton Allen, Hunter Poe and Preston Boss.
The competition was held in Washington D.C. from March 31 to April 2.
For their efforts, each of the Clearfield students received a $1,000 scholarship from Northrop Grumman Corporation, chief sponsor of the event.
The team advanced to the finals by winning a two-day semifinal round of the competition's All Service Division in February in Orlando, Fla.
Clearfield also won rounds in October, November and December, and won the entire Air Force version of the competition last year.
"The competition expanded this year (to all branches of service)," Workman said. "We won the whole thing last year for the Air Force and took third this year for the service-wide competition. We feel pretty good about what we were able to accomplish."
As part of the competition, the students learn to fight a new and different military battle.
Instead of securing borders with guns and ammunition, team members work to secure computer network systems with firewalls and passwords.
Workman said the students had little knowledge of cyber defense before joining the team, but learned valuable skills throughout the competition.
Linda Mills, president of Northrop Grumman Information Systems, said the company hopes the experience and scholarship money provides incentive for the students to continue in cyber defense careers.
"We are delighted to provide these scholarships to help them to continue their education," she said. "We hope they gained a desire to pursue a career in cyber defense."
CyberPatriot is the premier high school cybersecurity competition in the nation, produced by the Air Force Association, a nonprofit organization headquartered near Washington, D.C.
The competition was designed to give students a hands-on learning experience in cybersecurity and to inspire students to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.