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Future Leaders

Future Leaders

Stacy Wright, the STEM teacher at Creekside Christian Academy in Hampton, knows that educational material connects better with students when they can tie it in with a project. Over the past year, she has seen several students put what they have learned into practice and achieve great success.

Zach Simmons, a senior, was named a Cyberstart Scholar with Honors. Simmons competed for a top score against thousands of high school students across the nation by solving real-world cybersecurity problems. Over 45,000 students nationwide sought to qualify for a National Cyber Scholarship, with just two percent meeting the requirements. 

In recognition of his achievement, Simmons earned an invitation to participate in the Cyber Foundations Academy – a multi-week online program based on the nationally-recognized SANS Foundations training course and certification – valued at more than $3,000, where he earned his first entry-level cybersecurity certification.

CyberStart America is a free national program for high school students, aiming to uncover hidden cyber talents and identify and develop the next generation of cyber superstars. 

“I’ll be looking into this field more in the future,” said Simmons, who is hoping to study at Georgia Tech. “It is a field that is constantly changing and requires constant diligence and enthusiasm to stay competitive.”

Blessing Kwazema, Ian Wright, and Markson Fraser won first place in the Best Customization 14-18 category of the Make:able Challenge. The students used 3D printing to help a fellow student with a need.

Kylie Hanslip, a fifth-grader at Creekside Christian, requested a prosthetic device to help her play basketball. Kwazema, Wright, and Fraser worked together on designing options using CAD software and created a device for Hanslip to wear to help her better grip a basketball.

“It was fun to bounce ideas off of each other,” said Fraser. “Each person created a design, and we took different aspects of each one to work together.”

Wright was proud of the students for how well they collaborated.

“We each had different roles to make sure that we worked efficiently from start to finish,” said Kwazema, who served as the team’s creative design manager. “We’re looking forward to entering the competition again.”

For this group of students, winning first place was icing on the cake because they knew they had created something special that was truly useful in making a difference in a person’s life. Their design won the school a 3D scanner, and students and faculty members have already approached them with ideas for their next project.

By: Mike Boylan