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CVA duo tops Air Force/Griffiss tech challenge

Photo of two boys holding a trophyThe clock is ticking. Hackers from outside the United States are trying to infect a military computer server with a Trojan virus. If successful, it will disrupt military communications, leaving the nation vulnerable until programmers can isolate and remove the code.

Who is going to stop the hack and keep America safe?

Maybe it will be Dakota Turk and Anthony Salvati!

While many of their classmates were away on vacation or sleeping in, the two captured first place in the 8th Annual Air Force Research Laboratory Challenge at Griffiss Institute in Rome, NY. As winners, the two earned paid summer internship and other prizes.

The week-long competition challenges teams of two students to tackle a complex, real-world, high tech problem. The problem tests everything they have learned in high school from politics, to English, to math and science. Organizers call the event “a mental marathon.”

The teams received the “Internet security” challenge problem upon arrival the first day. They had just four days to solve it. They worked together, researching and brainstorming their solution. Like a real workplace, they were able to ask AFRL/RI engineers and scientists questions about the problem throughout the week.

CVA coach and teacher Wes Laurion attended with the boys each day. He believes their accomplishments are just a first step for Central Valley.

He said their win was, “A prime example of how great CVA can be!”

AT&T support heightens the challenge

This year, AT&T provided additional support for the competition.

“Our economy continues to transform at a robust pace – requiring a workforce with a focus on technological education and literacy – and STEM programs like this one are vital to ensure that the students of today are prepared for the global economy of tomorrow, said Marissa Shorenstein, New York State president, AT&T.

Central Valley Superintendent Rich Hughes said this is our students’ future.

“We are working to rethink how we deliver education at Central Valley. These are the high paying jobs of the future and we want to give our students every opportunity to compete for them,” he said.