North Hollywood High School threw a welcome home celebration Tuesday in honor of five tech-savvy teens who brought the entire district its first cyber-security win.
The school held a lunch rally in honor of "Team Azure" who was crowned the CyberPatriot National Champions in Maryland.
The team of 11th-graders beat out 620 other Open Division teams to clinch the National Championship on March 29, marking the first win for the school and Los Angeles Unified School District.
During the week-long competition, the team underwent the Digital Cyber Crime Scene Challenge, according to a press release by the Air Force Association (AFA).
They investigated the crime scene, secured Cisco Networking equipment and safely set up a network of computers to protect it from hackers.
The simulated scenario required the team to think on the defensive and prevent a team of hackers from penetrating the network and compromising the security.
The group began training for the CyberPatriot competition with their coach and NHHS computer science teacher Jay Gehringer in August. A system engineer from Cisco, a representative from Microsoft and students and professors from Cal Poly Pomona among others helped mentor and train the students.
The team returns home with $2,000 in scholarship money to go toward their future college tuition and the prestige that comes with the National Championship title.
The AFA created the education program to inspire high school students towards careers in cyber security or similar sciences, according to the US Cyber Patriot website.
The competition seeks to develop the "next generation of cyber defenders" to defeat the growing number of cyber threats to the US.
"When I’m retired, I want these kids to protect my security and investments," Gehringer said. "They are the future."