North Hollywood High School Wins California Cyber Innovation Challenge Competition at Cal Poly

Jun 26, 2017 | Press Release

Sixteen Teams of High School Students Competed in Simulated Cybersecurity Challenges

Sacramento, Calif. – After two days of intense competition among 16 high school cybersecurity competition teams, North Hollywood High Team Togo won the second annual California Cyber Innovation Challenge.  More than 100 student competitors completed timed cybersecurity challenges designed to replicate the many different threats that cybersecurity professionals face, from attacks on critical infrastructure to attempted breaches of consumer data on connected devices.

Student competitors expressed interest in a wide variety of careers, from medicine to aerospace engineering to public service, while acknowledging that cybersecurity will play a key role in all of these fields. Informed by this new understanding of the wide variety of careers that require cybersecurity knowledge, student competitors are already looking ahead to the 2018 innovation challenge. Kai Schelly, a competitor on the North Hollywood Togo Team, said, “We have a responsibility as reigning champs to keep this going, because all these other  schools are  stepping up their game.”

The California Cyber Innovation Challenge is part of a statewide campaign to expand access to technology career pathways for students and empower businesses to support cybersecurity education and training. The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) and California Polytechnic State University lead this event, in conjunction with government, academic, and business leaders.                                                                                                                                                             

“GO-Biz congratulates North Hollywood High Team Togo and all the students who participated this year,” said Panorea Avdis, GO-Biz Director.  “But the real winner is the state of California, as we celebrate the next generation of cybersecurity innovators and entrepreneurs, who will protect everything from our personal health data to the deployment of autonomous vehicles.”

After regional qualifying competitions throughout the spring, 16 teams from the Bay Area, Central Coast, Central Valley, Inland Empire, Los Angeles, Orange County, Sacramento, and San Diego competed for the title of state champion.  The teams represented a diverse group of California communities and schools, and included a military academy, an entrepreneurship school, and two all-female teams.

The 16 teams participated in competitions designed to hone their understanding of the threats and opportunities associated with the “Internet of Things,” or any device that can connect to the Internet or to each other, on Saturday at the California Cyber Training Complex in San Luis Obispo. They presented their cases and received awards on Sunday on the Cal Poly campus.

A unique combination of challenges tested the students’ understanding of cyber security threats, including the Digital Forensics Challenge, in which they collected and analyzed a combination of digital and physical evidence to solve a modern-day cyber plot. The evidence was hidden in a car associated with the suspects. The students were also put in the position of newly hired IT professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company in the CyberPatriot challenge.

“The event was stimulating for the student competitors, who eagerly tackled the chance to test their investigative, critical thinking and teamwork skills in various challenges, assisted by Cal Poly faculty and student interns,” said Bill Britton, Cal Poly’s vice president for information technology and chief information officer. “We were pleased to be able to provide this positive opportunity for the students and look forward to hosting the California Cyber Innovation Challenge again next year.”

GO-Biz lead this event with the CyberCalifornia coalition, a collection of businesses, state agencies, and educational partners dedicated to reinforcing California’s leadership position in cybersecurity. The California Workforce Development Board provided the seed funding for this challenge and for the 2016 demonstration event, held at Sacramento City College. Other coalition leaders include the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, the Department of Technology, the California Military Department, the Los Angeles Unified School District and Cal Poly.

Competition Results

1) Best Overall Cyber Team: North Hollywood High Team Togo

2) Best CyberPatriot Team: North Hollywood High Team Togo

3) Best Digital Forensics Team: North Hollywood High Team Truman

4) Best New Cyber Team: Coast Union High School, San Luis Obispo

About Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
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. It’s a distinctive learning community offering academically focused students a hands-on educational experience that prepares them for today’s scientific and technical world. Cal Poly is consistently ranked a top university for academics, value and graduates’ salaries.

About CyberCalifornia
CyberCalifornia is a cybersecurity initiative focused on educating California businesses about cybersecurity needs and resources, and connecting California’s robust workforce development system with the needs of California employers. CyberCalifornia is organized in conjunction with the Innovation Hub (iHub) Network, a program administered by GO-Biz.

About GO-Biz
The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) serves as the State of California’s leader for job growth and economic development efforts. GO-Biz offers a range of services to business owners including: attraction, retention and expansion services, site selection, permit streamlining, clearing of regulatory hurdles, small business assistance, international trade development, assistance with state government, and much more. For more information visit,

Contact Information
1325 J Street, Suite 1800
Sacramento, CA 95818
Phone: 1-877-345-4633
Email Us

Explore more articles by category:  GO-Biz News  |  CalOSBA News  |  Press Releases |  Opinion Editorials