The Black Falcons
The Black Falcons, the club that specializes in Cyber Security, got their start 10 years ago under the leadership of Chris Gaw, a programming and technology teacher, at Green Hope High School.
Over the last 10 years the Black Falcons have participated in the Cyber Patriots competition, sponsored by the United States Air Force. This global competition tests the skills of students in Network Security, System Administration, as well as the Windows and Unix operating systems. They compete at the local, national and global levels with other high school students. There are five formal competitions, each lasting six hours. During the competitions, the Cyber Patriots host systems that have numerous security vulnerabilities. The challenge is for the student to plug the security holes using industry best practices methodologies, and to do it faster than the other competing teams. On seven occasions, the Black Falcons have placed the best in the State of North Carolina and have been ranked nationally. The Black Falcons have amassed a total of 15 NC State awards with the Cyber Patriots.
The Black Falcons are involved in community service to the school by taking charge of the 10 laptop carts used in various classrooms within the school. Each cart houses 30 laptop computers. Once a week, in team of two, the Black Falcons are dispatched to verify that all the laptops are working, charging in their slots and ready for student use.
Four years ago, the team, which had been all male, took on an initiative to recruit females who are interested in technology. That recruitment effort continues and this year’s team president and vice president are female. In fact, females team membership represents 25% of the club, with 3 of the 4 team leaders being female this year.
Another initiative of the Black Falcons is STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics). Over the last 4 years they have developed a toolkit of materials to promote STEM educational experiences that prioritize hands-on learning to increase student engagement and achievement. This toolkit incorporates the 4C’s of education, which are, Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration and Communication.
All former members of the Black Falcons have gone onto college specializing in the information technology industry. There have been some students that have earned scholarships and one student was recruited by the National Security Agency for a full ride at Georgia Tech.
The Black Falcons earliest members are now out of college and working in the IT industry. We’re proud to say they developed their interest and got their basic skills as a result of the achievements they earned as a member of the Black Falcons.
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