Citrus High School teaches kids how to stay safe online

When Rebecca Tatun is not training for her next weightlifting competition, she’s training her mind in Mr. Swiatek’s last period class — computer sciences.

“I’ve always been in computer sciences in general, so joining the academy, cyber security was just part of our career path,” Tatun told Spectrum Bay News 9.

The Citrus High School Computer Sciences Academy, now in its sixth year, teaches seniors ways to stay safe while they spend their time online. 

“We were able to realize what’s the difference between a strong password and a weak password — and what makes it more difficult for those hackers to get our passwords,” Tatun said, talking about her third week in the class.

Her love and passion for cracking the code started back at home, watching her father keep her family safe for years.

“It reminds me of when I was younger too,” William Tatun said while recalling his childhood. “I was the kid at five years old that took apart my father’s calculator — a very expensive calculator — but I couldn’t put it back together.” 

William has worked in computer sciences and cyber security for more than two decades now and doesn’t mind passing on that knowledge, especially in a time like now when more people are working from home and potentially vulnerable online. He said it’s important that his daughter understands the inherent dangers on the internet and how to avoid them.

“As parents, we’re very thankful to be in a school district that’s progressive enough to do something like that,” he said.

Being aware of the dangers of social media herself, Rebecca plans to continue learning ways to stay safe and help keep others safe as well. 

“Taking this path down cyber security and computer science area really allows me to have that inside view of what nobody else really understands,” she said.

The Citrus High Computer Sciences program will also give students the opportunity to earn many industry certifications.

You can learn more about the program here. 

Janelle B. Smith

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