North Hollywood CyberPatriots clinch 2017 national championship

LOS ANGELES (April 6, 2017) – Five juniors from North Hollywood Senior High School captured the National CyberPatriot Championship, marking the second time the school has won the prestigious challenge of computer and critical-thinking skills.

Juniors Aled Cuda, Kyle Gusdorf, Jonathan Liu, Jaren Mendelsohn and Nikola Pratte made up Team Togo, which outscored two teams from North Hollywood and nine others nationwide during the week-long competition in Baltimore.

“I am just blown away,” said Jay Gehringer, the school’s Advanced Placement computer science teacher and head coach for the teams. “I am really impressed by these kids, how much their hard work, effort, teamwork and communication with one another helped them achieve something that is not only an academic success but important for their country.”

CyberPatriot is a series of intensely rigorous challenges that test students’ knowledge, and skills in securing computers and networks from hackers and other cyberthreats, representing the next generation of fortifying national security. More than 11,000 high school students from 2,200 teams nationwide competed for the 12 coveted slots in the Open High School Division of the national finals.

Team Togo – named for the 1929 husky sled dog that delivered life-saving medicine during a diphtheria epidemic in Nome, Alaska – has been working as a team since their freshman year.

Team members credit goal-setting, collaboration and tenacity for their success.

“The competition really shows how we can keep developing and improving,” said junior Nikola Pratte. “If we keep working hard toward a common goal, together we can achieve it. We did it here at nationals.”

This is the fourth time North Hollywood High has sent at least one team to the national finals since CyberPatriot began in 2009. It is the second time the school has produced the national champion. In 2014, the school’s, “Team Azure,” took the top prize.

The students are scheduled to be honored on Friday morning by the city council during a special ceremony at Los Angeles City Hall.

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 Contact: Samuel Gilstrap (213) 241-6766