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The Quilt supports National High School Cyber Challenge

The Quilt, a consortium of regional Research and Education (R&E) Networks throughout the United States, is pleased to announce a joint effort with Merit Network in Michigan to help develop the next generation of cybersecurity talent through the National High School Cyber Challenge.

By the year 2020 there will be an estimated 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the United States. According to National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), one of the reasons students don’t pursue cybersecurity as a career field is simply a lack of exposure.

The Quilt has joined with member, Merit Network, to offer an opportunity to all members of The Quilt to engage their connected high school communities in a cybersecurity challenge.

The National High School Cyber Challenge is a multi-round competition that tests students’ skills in networking, programming, and operating system security. The competition is developed by Merit and the Michigan Cyber Range. Every round is offered at no cost to schools or students, who compete in teams of 1-3.

“Cultivating next-generation cybersecurity talent is essential for the future for R&E Networks,” said Jen Leasure, president and CEO of The Quilt. “This is fantastic exposure for students and institutions, and we are well-positioned to coordinate and deliver an event that encourages the development of high-level cybersecurity talent throughout the country.”

Teams are invited to participate in a round of challenges designed to test their knowledge of cybersecurity, computer science and information technology.

Here’s what can be expected with each round of competition:

Round ZERO (April-July 2019)
An online resource that can be utilized by parents, instructors and administrators as warm-up activities, supplements to curriculum and more. It is an unscored challenge, open to unlimited participants.

Round ONE (October 2019)
A four-day, online challenge that will focus on networks, programming, operating systems, and hacking skills. This round is open to 10-30 teams from each participating state.

Round TWO (November 2019)
The National Championship features a virtual exercise designed to test teams’ skills with an intensive, timed series of security challenges. The top 10 teams from Round One will participate in Round Two.


Cybersecurity Boot Camp courses and examination vouchers will be awarded to students of the winning team. These certifications will qualify the students for entry level jobs in the industry.

Sponsors and Participants

Current participating states include: Michigan, Missouri, Illinois, West Virginia, Maryland and Oklahoma. State recruiting is still in process. Support from industry partners is critical to the success of this event, to ensure that any student, regardless of geographic location or economic ability, can participate.

Learn more about how your organization can support this opportunity.


For any comments, questions or thoughts, please email HSCYBERCHALLENGE@MERIT.EDU.