Virtual High School Students Win First Place Award in National Youth Cyber Defense Competition

—Four students from Connections Academy-supported full-time virtual schools advance to Regional Round Jan. 16-18—

BALTIMORE, MD (January 1, 2015) – Four students enrolled in Connections Academy-supported full-time virtual public schools recently earned first place in the top ranking tier of their division during the CyberPatriot VII National Youth Cyber Defense Competition State Round. The students are a part of Connections’ Science and Technology Academy program and represented the only virtual high school team in the competition. The team will advance to the Regional Round to be held online Jan. 16-18.

CyberPatriot’s core program – the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition – challenges teams of two to six students across the United States, Canada, and from DoDD schools abroad, to find and resolve cybersecurity vulnerabilities in simulated environments. Based on the results of two preliminary rounds, approximately 2,000 high school teams competed in CyberPatriot VII and were categorized within their divisions as Platinum, Gold, or Silver Tier teams—with Platinum Tier teams representing the top third, highest scoring teams.

Connections’ team, as part of the Open Division for public, private, virtual, and home school students, demonstrated teamwork, critical thinking skills, and technical knowledge key to a successful career in cybersecurity, to earn first place in their division at the Platinum Tier Level.

The virtual school students include:

Supporting, guiding, and educating the virtual school team during the competition are coach Tammy Hall, Connections Education School Support Specialist; Amanda Dice, Science and Technology Academy Specialist; and team mentors Sid Sakota and Ben Shady, who are both cybersecurity professionals.

As part of Connections’ Science and Technology Academy program, students have the opportunity to gain exposure to today’s cutting-edge innovations through guest experts in fields such as robotics, cyber security, environmental science, and astronomy. Academy members also enjoy opportunities to interact with like-minded students and participate in a variety of competitions and learning activities to keep students challenged and inspired.

Following the Regional Round, the top CyberPatriot teams will advance to the CyberPatriot VII Finals Competition in Washington, DC. For more information about the competition, visit

About Connections Academy
Connections Academy is a leading provider of high-quality, highly accountable virtual schooling for students in grades K through 12. Through tuition-free public schools, and full-time and part-time private school programs, Connections Academy delivers superior, personalized education for students, with the freedom and flexibility to experience our online learning community from anywhere. The combination of certified teachers, a proven curriculum, technology tools, and community experiences creates a supportive and successful online learning opportunity for families and children who want an individualized approach to education. Among the schools supported by Connections in the 2014–15 school year are 35 Connections Academy virtual (online) public schools and Nexus Academy blended schools that operate in 25 states and expect to serve more than 45,000 students from across the U.S. It serves students worldwide through the online private school, International Connections Academy. Connections Academy offers grades K through 12, though some public school programs do not offer all grades. For more information, call 800–382–6010 or visit Connections Academy and its parent company, Connections Education, are part of the global learning company Pearson (NYSE:PSO).