Cal Poly to Host Paradise Students, 28 Other Teams at Statewide Cybersecurity Championship June 21-23

Paradise Students, Who Lost Their School in the Devastating Camp Fire, Will Compete for the First Time

Students from Achieve Charter School of Paradise, California, pictured at a Mayors Cyber Cup event in the spring.
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — For the third straight year, Cal Poly will host hundreds of high school and middle school students and test their ability to solve cybercrimes in the California Cyber Innovation Challenge (CCIC) on June 21-23.  

For the first time, students from Achieve Charter School of Paradise, California, will take part — less than a year after the Camp Fire destroyed more than 18,800 structures in Butte County last November, including the students’ homes and school. The team is comprised of six middle school students.

“They are so excited about the competition,” said Jorge Rojas, the team’s coach and a middle school history teacher at Achieve Charter, which is now holding classes in portable trailers behind a church in Chico. “They already know that they really enjoy technology. Now they can understand that they can actually do a lot with it if they want to pursue it as a career.”

Twenty-nine high school and middle school teams from across the state will compete in two divisions at the CCIC, a California-focused, statewide cybersecurity championship competition that aims to deepen students’ interest in the growing field of cybersecurity. 

“We are thrilled to have Achieve Charter join this year’s competition,” said Martin Minnich, program manager for Cal Poly’s California Cybersecurity Institute. “The Cal Poly community admires the students and the Town of Paradise’s resolve and spirit as they rebuild their lives after the devastating fire.”

Achieve Charter competed in a regional California Mayors Cyber Cup event in the spring, with the middle school team placing first. The win marked a turning point for the students, who had only just learned about the competition and started training.

“They were so happy. Being in that competition was a change in mindset for them,” Rojas said. “With everything they’ve gone through, for them to feel the actual essence of winning something, it made them feel hopeful that there is going to be a better future for them.”

At Cal Poly, the Achieve Charter students and students from middle and high schools across California will participate in a competition intended to highlight the challenges of securing health care information and medical devices. The competition embodies Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing motto, as students experience live-immersive environments representing real-world scenarios.

The students will use state-of-the-art forensics tools to extract and collect digital evidence to stop a health care-themed cyber plot. Using a combination of technical, analytical, and persuasive skills, each team will present their findings to a panel of expert judges representing leaders from industry, academia, government, and law enforcement. View the full list of judges and ambassadors online at

“During the competition, students will interact with judges and ambassadors from a variety of industries,” Minnich said. “This gives them insight into future career possibilities and an opportunity to learn how Californians are protecting California.”

The CCIC is designed to raise up the next generation of cybersecurity professionals by increasing their cyber fluency, professional experience, and interest in digital forensics. 

“In addition to training students on cyber forensics, we will provide hands-on learning opportunities for the next generation of cyber defenders,” California Cybersecurity Institute Director William J. “Bill” Britton said.

The following twenty-five schools, comprising twenty-nine teams, will compete in the CCIC:

  • Achieve Charter School, Paradise
  • Assurance Learning Academy, Lancaster (DoubleSimplex)
  • Benjamin Franklin High School, Los Angeles (Voyager)
  • California High School, San Ramon (CyberSharks)
  • Coast Union High School, Cambria (Coast1)
  • CORE Butte High School, Chico (HyperLynx2)
  • Del Norte High School, San Diego (CyberAegis Aether, CyberAegis Chobani, CyberAegis Hyperion and CyberAegis Zelos)
  • Gavilan High School, Gilroy
  • Granada High School, Livermore (Purple Narwhals)
  • Granada Hills Charter High School (Granada1)
  • Grand Terrace High School (CyberBois)
  • James C Enochs High School, Modesto (DuBois)
  • Jesuit High School, Carmichael (R4808N)
  • Martin Luther King High School, Riverside (MLKTeam1)
  • Mira Costa High School, Manhattan Beach (RAWSUGAR)
  • Multiple schools from the Bay Area (CoderDojo)
  • North Hollywood High School (Mendenhall)
  • Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, Rolling Hills Estates (PantherTeam1)
  • Roseville High School (l am g/)
  • Santa Lucia Middle School, Cambria (SLMS1)
  • Scripps Ranch High School, San Diego (ByteSized Falcons)
  • Toby Johnson Middle School, Elk Grove (Anime Club)
  • Troy High School, Fullerton (BletchleyPark and TroyTechSupport)
  • Turlock High School (Turlock NJROTC)
  • Ukiah High School (MAJORCats)

The public is invited to watch students compete in the 2019 CCIC. Register to attend at A media briefing is scheduled at 12:15 p.m. June 22 at the California Cybersecurity Institute. Media can register to attend the briefing at  

A team of students from Achieve Charter School of Paradise, California, placed first in a regional California Mayors Cyber Cup event earlier in the spring. Pictured from left to right are Alex Gronlund, Zachary McCollum, Gavin Curbow, Parker Maletic, Logan Bizzle and coach Jorge Rojas.
A team of students from Achieve Charter School of Paradise, California, placed first in a regional California Mayors Cyber Cup event earlier in the spring. Pictured from left to right are Alex Gronlund, Zachary McCollum, Gavin Curbow, Parker Maletic, Logan Bizzle and coach Jorge Rojas.

About the California Cybersecurity Institute
The CCI is a robust, multi-agency effort to protect California from future cyber threats through training and research for government, academia, military, law enforcement, first responders and private entities. The CCI’s digital range differentiates its training program from others by creating immersive, scenario-based exercises on issues including next-generation cloud computing, anti-human trafficking, health care, critical infrastructure, and vehicular vulnerabilities. For more information, visit

About Cal Poly 
Cal Poly is a nationally ranked, four-year, comprehensive public university located in San Luis Obispo, halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles on California’s Central Coast. Known for its Learn by Doing approach, small class sizes and open access to expert faculty, Cal Poly is a distinctive learning community whose 21,000 academically motivated students enjoy an unrivaled hands-on educational experience that prepares them to lead successful personal and professional lives. Cal Poly is consistently ranked a top university for academics, value and graduate salaries. For more information, visit

Photo information: In photo at top, students from Achieve Charter school are pictured at the California Mayors Cyber Cub competition earlier this year. Photos courtesy Jorge Rojas, Achieve Charter School.

Contact: Jimmy Baker
Director for Industry Outreach, California Cybersecurity Institute

June 6, 2019

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