Cybersecurity Academy Coming To Santaluces


Chwoeger Charleston

Mr. Angione teaching using cybersecurity software.

Chwoeger Charleston, Staff Writer

Starting next year, Santaluces will be one of only a few schools to launch a Cybersecurity Academy for students. The program will be aimed at introducing and educating students on the growing and opportunity-filled field of cybersecurity and information technology.

This program is possible through a $750,000 grant award to the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County to support Santaluces’ new Cybersecurity Academy. The grant was funded by The Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation. The grant will help ensure that Santaluces students have the resources they need to prepare for post-secondary education or a career in cybersecurity. 

Nimmi Arunachalam, a school district specialist from the Career and Technical Education Department, is collaborating with Santaluces on the program. She believes the availability of this program at such a diverse school as Santaluces can increase the diversity of the field.

“We need students of all backgrounds and abilities to consider a career in the cybersecurity industry because the demand for a strong national cyber defense workforce is here to stay. The program is designed to “teach students about personal cybersecurity that will keep them safe online by increasing their awareness and knowledge,” said Arunachalam.

Ultimately, the program will help open doors in the job market as well as provide students with a stronger sense of security in their daily, personal use of computers and the internet.

The program includes four courses that start at the freshman level ending with seniors, taught by computer science and cybersecurity teacher, Mr. Angione. 

“First-year students will take an intro to IT fundamentals and will focus on covering hardware and software and computer OS security. Second-year students delve into Networking Fundamentals and Security basics. Third-year students will cover the Security Fundamentals material and more advanced networking and cybersecurity skills,” said Mr. Angione. “Seniors will be able to take Operational Cybersecurity to give them more advanced experience in the ways systems can be secured, countermeasures implemented, and risk assessment performed.”

Samuel McCoy, a senior and current cybersecurity student who is only catching a glimpse of what the program will provide next year vouches for how interesting and significant cybersecurity can be. 

“I’m really interested in hacking and learning how to protect my personal information, data, and so much more,” said McCoy. “The class is actually a big help, to be honest.”

Each course covers foundational skills and knowledge in computer and network security, security vulnerabilities, attack mechanisms and techniques, intrusion detection and prevention, risk identification, incidence response, access control, and recovery, according to the district program description.

The program could help students learn how to protect their online information. 

“I don’t really know too much about cybersecurity,” said Sophomore Scott Martin, who is interested in the program. “All I really know how to do is install antivirus software.” 

In the program, however, students will not only learn what it takes to be secure but also be able to earn various industry certifications on fundamental topics of cybersecurity. 

“They will also teach students state of the art technical skills that are in high demand right now, and will pave the way for a bright economic future for our students,” said Arunachalam.

The program prepares students for cybersecurity positions such as Security Engineers, Security Architects, Malware Reverse Engineers, and Information Security Analysts – all of which can earn up to six figures.

Only a few schools in Palm Beach County provide this program so the skill and knowledge students will acquire in the end are very scarce. 

“This is a huge advantage and an opportunity that is being offered at Santaluces,” said Arunachalam. “In life, one has to grab opportunities when they present themselves. The time to try this is now.”