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Lakota Cyber ​​Academy celebrates its first promotion

(TNS) – As first-class members of the historic Lakota Cyber ​​Academy will soon take the stage to receive their high school diplomas, they will also take their final step toward employment in one of the industries. fastest growing industry – cybersecurity.

Among them will be Lakota East High School student Zoey Chappell, who was recently a speaker at the Lakota school board meeting and an “academic star” at the innovative academy which is one of only two in the gender among Southwestern Ohio schools.

Chappell was one of the first to apply for the program three years ago with some hesitation because it was a new experience for the 17,000 students at Lakota schools.

But his concerns were quickly replaced by an ever-growing passion to study and work in the field of cybersecurity.

“I’m so grateful to have discovered what cyber (security) is and to have the abilities to make me employable and useful as a high school student. I don’t think many high school programs can do that,” Chappell said.

Her work at Cyber ​​Academy, which is located in Lakota East but also serves students from Lakota West High School, was recently praised by school officials who described her as an “ambassador” of the program through her volunteer work with informational presentations at the college. students considering enrolling in the program.

“We are so proud of everything Zoey has accomplished,” said Keith Koehne, Lakota’s Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction.

“She entered Cyber ​​Academy without much IT experience and benefited so much. She got industry certifications, internships and real job offers through all her hard work,” Koehne said.

“She did well individually, but what’s even more impressive is how she took on a leadership role and became a true ambassador for the program as a whole and for young women in computing in particular. Watching her speak to undergrads is inspiring.”

The realities of the cybersecurity industry — and its willingness to pay top dollar for trained cyber experts — have inspired more teens in Lakota and across the country to explore similar programs when available.

With starting salaries of up to $60,000, those trained and with varying levels of professional certification can begin their young adult life with job security and a high ceiling for advancement.

Industry experts report that more than 3 million cybersecurity jobs are unfilled.

Chappell will spend his summer working for Fifth Third Bank’s Cyber ​​Threat Interdiction Department before starting his freshman year at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York.

None of this, she said, would be possible without the Cyber ​​Academy.

“I don’t think many high schools can prepare a student like that,” she said.

The academy opened in 2019 with 150 students. This school year’s enrollment was 165 students and next year’s class will have 200 students.

More information about the academy is available on its Lakota District webpage.

©2022 the Journal-News (Hamilton, Ohio). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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