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Commonwealth of Virginia State Seal


Chief Information Officer
Robert Osmond
Virginia Information Technologies Agency7325 Beaufont Springs Drive
Richmond, VA 23225
(804) 510-7300TDD VOICE -TEL. NO. 711
For additional information contact:
Lindsay LeGrand, APR
Director of Communications
Thu, 27 Oct 2022 08:30:00 EDT
For immediate release

Virginia participates in Kids Safe Online poster contest and CyberStart America competition

Entries are now being accepted for the Kids Safe Online poster contest; registration is now open for CyberStart America
(Richmond, VA) - 

The Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) are announcing the Commonwealth of Virginia’s participation in two programs designed to raise cybersecurity awareness and offer cyber educational and scholarship opportunities for students: the 2022-2023 CyberStart America competition and the 2023 Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) Kids Safe Online poster contest.

“Here in the Commonwealth, we’re all in on raising cybersecurity awareness among our students,” said Chief Information Officer of the Commonwealth Robert Osmond. “As we work to build a strong cyber ecosystem in Virginia, education is a critically important part of the process, and we are thrilled to be a part of these programs that help our students become cyber-strong and cyber-smart.”

“The CyberStart America competition and the Kids Safe Online poster contest are aligned with the content and objectives of the Computer Science Standards of Learning,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “I encourage schools to make sure that students are aware of these opportunities to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and potentially earn scholarships.” 

MS-ISAC Kids Safe Online poster contest: open to K-12 students in Virginia

The goal for the MS-ISAC Kids Safe Online poster contest is to engage young people in actively using cybersecurity knowledge by creating posters to encourage their peers to use the internet safely and securely. The competition also gives teachers in classrooms across Virginia a chance to address and reinforce cybersecurity themes and online safety issues.

All students enrolled in kindergarten through grade 12 are eligible to participate. Entries are now being accepted for the 2023 contest; the deadline to enter in Virginia is Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023.

In the 2022 poster contest, Leila – a third-grader from Ashland Elementary in Manassas -- was named a national winner in the contest.

CyberStart America competition: open to students in grades 9 – 12 in Virginia

In the CyberStart America competition, students in grades 9 through 12 get access to CyberStart, a free, immersive cybersecurity training game. By playing the game, students can learn more about cybersecurity and build skills that could prepare them for a career in technology. They may also qualify for cyber training scholarships worth over $3,000.

“We are so proud of our 53 Virginia students who were named as national scholars in the 2021-2022 CyberStart America competition. They earned a total of $159,000 in scholarships,” said Chief Information Security Officer of the Commonwealth Michael Watson. ”This shows how well Virginia's investment in cyber education is working and highlights the talent of our students in the Commonwealth. We are very excited about the enthusiasm they have for learning about cybersecurity, and maybe even pursuing it as a career.”  

Registration for CyberStart America is now open. Students can play CyberStart until Tuesday, April 4, 2023. Students who have a high score in CyberStart will then be invited to apply for a scholarship, with scholarship winners being announced in early May 2023.

For more information on the MS-ISAC Kids Safe Online poster contest and the CyberStart America competition, visit the VITA website.


About the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA)
VITA is the commonwealth's consolidated technology services and solutions provider responsible for the operation of the state's technology infrastructure, governance, security and oversight of major IT projects, and procurement of technology-related goods and services on behalf of state and local governments.


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