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Former Marine launches high school Cyber Patriots program

Program allows Brackenridge High School students to get certifications

SAN ANTONIO – A former U.S. Marine who now teaches criminal justice has decided to take on cyberterrorism.

Clarence Conwell launched a Cyber Patriots program at Brackenridge High School.

The after-school program teaches youngsters how to gain a foothold in a growing career that pays well, has plenty of job opportunities and is expected to grow. 

"It's one of the most important areas of national security," Conwell said. "It's a vulnerability that can be exploited very easily with very little money. All it takes is a laptop computer."

Although the group of slightly more than a half a dozen students don't receive school credit for their endeavors, they said they love it and will continue regardless. 

"I love it a lot because I learn Linux, my favorite, it's basically a command line," Mark Hughes, a sophomore, said."

Matthew Pina said his motivation to learn how to combat cyber terrorism is simple. 

"I like Cyber security because I like to keep things protected," he said.

Conwell has taken the kids on field trips to Rackspace to learn about different technologies from professional IT experts. 

Volunteers from the San Antonio-based technology company also spend time teaching the kids through Skype sessions. 

Conwell said it's critically important to train youths so that the nation has a workforce that's prepared to ward off enemies.

"You're gonna have to constantly defend against cyber attacks," he said. "It's one of the most important areas of national security. It's a vulnerability that can be exploited very easily with very little money. All it takes is a laptop computer."