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Gadsden County middle-schoolers attend TCC cybersecurity camp

Nine Gadsden County middle-school students recently completed a cybersecurity-focused summer camp hosted by Tallahassee Community College.

The camp ran from June 11-15, and took place at the TCC Gadsden Center in Quincy. Campgoers were introduced to different career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and were taught important cyber defense skills on the Ubuntu and Windows operating systems.

Jessica Griffin, coordinator of TCC’s Applied Cybersecurity certificate program, said, “One of the most valuable things for the kids is to get exposure to the tools and applications that are on the computer, and also to become aware that there is more than just Google and YouTube.”

Campers also took part in a team competition simulating real cybersecurity situations faced by industry professionals. Eighth-grade students Ruben Vasquez, Terrance Chisolm and Makari Vickers competed together on the winning team. They attributed their success to teamwork and cooperation.

While winning the competition was very rewarding, Vasquez, who attends North Florida Christian School in Tallahassee, said his favorite part of camp was learning how to prevent cyberbullying. Over the week, camp participants were encouraged to consider what they want to pursue as a career.

Vickers, a student at Crossroad Academy Charter School in Quincy, hopes to pursue a career as a neurosurgeon or work in the field of cybersecurity. Chisolm, also a student at Crossroad Academy, would like to pursue a career in sports reporting or cybersecurity.

Financial support for the camp was provided by the TCC Foundation and Taking Stock in Children. Lunch for all campers was arranged by the Gadsden County School Summer Feeding Program.

Another cybersecurity camp is taking place this week at TCC’s main campus in Tallahassee. A third session for rising sixth to ninth graders will be offered at the TCC Wakulla Center from July 16 to July 20. The camp at the Wakulla Center still has openings.

All camps are official Air Force Association camps approved by the National Youth Cyber Education Program.

COVER PHOTO: Nine Gadsden County middle-school students attended the Tallahassee Community College Cybersecurity Summer Camp from June 11-15 at the college’s Gadsden Center in Quincy.

Special to The Herald