Education Feature Stories

Seneca JROTC Students Place First in CyberPatriot Challenge

CyberPatriot is a National Youth Cyber Education Program created by the Air Force Association to inspire students toward careers in STEM or cybersecurity.

Tabernacle, NJ – Five motivated Seneca High School Air Force Junior ROTC (JROTC) students, led by Freshman Chris Cerra, earned first place in the unit’s inaugural CyberPatriot Challenge Season.

The team earned First Place in the Gold Tier, All-Service Division. Team members were freshman Chris Cerra, freshman Luke Handt, sophomore Lea Mota, freshman Liam Knox, and junior Lauren Smith.

Seneca High School JROTC CyberPatriot Challenge winners. Pictured back row from left: Seneca Freshmen Liam Knox, Luke Handt, and Chris Cerra. In the front row are Seneca Sophomore Lea Mota (left) and Seneca Junior Lauren Smith (right). (Photo provided)

“This is huge,” explained Seneca JROTC Instructor Lt. Col. Greg Sevening. “They earned 1st place for the Gold Tier for all teams competing in New Jersey!”

CyberPatriot is a National Youth Cyber Education Program created by the Air Force Association to inspire students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines that are vital to the future of our Nation.

During each of the three rounds of competition, the team endures 6 hours of simulated cyber scenarios where they must secure various virtual networks to score points.

This competition pits Seneca students against their peers across the nation and even against JROTC teams overseas. They placed into the Gold
Division (second highest division) after competition in the first two placement rounds.

The first two rounds were placement rounds to separate the teams into equal playing fields: Platinum, Gold, and Silver.

The competitions were held on the following dates:

Round 1: 13 Nov. 13, 2020
Round 2: 11 Dec. 11, 2020
Round 3: 22 Jan. 22, 2021

All practices have been virtual. Students also had to compete virtually, which was a challenge. “The amazing LRHSD and Seneca Staff provided the cadets outstanding technical support to connect and compete,” noted Sevening. “Without them, we would not have been a success.

“I am so proud of Chris Cerra and the entire team,” Sevening added. “Seneca JROTC is a cadet led program and both MSgt Brooks and I push the cadets to show initiative and take action. They were presented the opportunity to set up a team, but it was up to them to organize, train, and execute; we merely advised and enabled. They wanted it and they did it!”

“Our students setting up this team was an amazing story on its own; they created an opportunity for future cadets to compete here at Seneca High School. Finishing in first place for the state of New Jersey in their division was icing on the cake.”

“This school year has presented Seneca Students with many challenges and each time they have met them head on. Today marks the culmination of yet another challenge,” Sevening continued. “We are looking forward to the bright future of Seneca’s newest extracurricular competition team as they increase their knowledge, appreciation, and abilities in the cybersecurity domain.”


The Lenape Regional High School District’s four high schools – Lenape, Shawnee, Cherokee and Seneca – as well as the Sequoia Alternative Program, educate approximately 6,800 students from eight communities in Burlington County.

The communities served include Evesham, Medford, Medford Lakes, Mount Laurel, Shamong, Southampton, Tabernacle, and Woodland.

The Lenape Regional District is among the highest-achieving districts in the state, with an average graduation rate of 96% and an average combined SAT score of 1144.

A leader in progressive education, the LRHSD’s mission is to develop physically and emotionally healthy students who excel in an ever-changing world.

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