Da(code)a: The CyberPatriot

Feature Photo By: Sam Newman – Senior Dakota Weir works on her tablet in the technology office as she waits for a laptop to reimage. The interns are often hard at work, balancing their classes with their work for Mr. Mills.

By: Sam Newman, Review Staff

Many would say that Rangeview High School is an immensely diverse place. Not only does it have a wide variety of ethnicities and races, it is also filled with many people of very different skills, interests, and dreams.

Often times, a lot of attention goes to the athletes, those in drama, and students in leadership. However, another group of people that help our school function are Randy Mills’s technology interns.

Dakota Weir (right) shows Dante Craig (left) how to reimage a laptop to Windows 10. The tech interns have a wide variety of tasks, including reimaging and cleaning machines and assisting teachers with technology in any way necessary. (Sam Newman)

There are twelve tech interns in total, split between two periods: 1st and 7th. The interns play various roles throughout Rangeview, whether it be preparing new computers for teachers or helping teachers and students with the computers they have.

Generally found in the tech office next to the weight rooms, the interns are some of Mills’s most trusted students.

Senior Dakota Weir is different than the other interns in one immediately noticeable way: she is the only female.

 

“She’s the most passionate about this, more than anybody else,” said Vincent Morgan, a senior and unofficial leader of the interns. “She puts a lot more passion into the work that she does [than the rest of us].”

 

For Dakota, while she does enjoy the opportunities that the internship opens for her, she doesn’t fail to enjoy what she does.

“[My favorite part is] the interaction with people, and with computers,” Weir said. “It’s a lot of fun, but it’s hard work.”

From left to right, technology interns Dante Craig (12), Charles Hulongbayan (10), Dakota Weir (12), Evan Henry (12), and Alexander Crow (11) listen to a tale of Mr. Mills’s role in the University of Wyoming’s homecoming parade. Though the interns are often hard at work, they always have time for a humorous tale from Mr. Mills. (Sam Newman)

Mills certainly appreciates Weir’s hard work and passion. Having to deal with well over two-thousand people and their corresponding technology, several describe Mills an extremely busy man.

Mills teaches four classes on top of his full-time tech job. Hence, Mills is left to rely on his interns to do far more than just troubleshoot the occasional problem, and Weir takes an important part in these jobs.

“She has been especially helpful in helping to coordinate STEM camps, helping work in coordinating labs, and doing summer work that just could not have possibly been done by one person alone,” Mills stated.

Being a tech intern isn’t the only role Weir plays at Rangeview. This is her fourth year on Rangeview’s CyberPatriot team, which features a group of students who compete on a national level in computer security, generally leading them into careers that are in high demand.

In Rangeview’s CyberPatriot program, Weir is the leader of the all-girls team, which has grown substantially with the passing of years.

“We were one of the very first schools to have an all-girls team in the country a few years ago,” said Mills. “She’s continued on with a strong tradition of having strong girls’ teams, not just girls’ teams that are novelty acts.”

Weir and her CyberPatriot teammate Briana Brooks (12) discuss cyber security tactics with Senior Vincent Morgan, one of the top Patriots. Weir is the leader of Rangeview’s all-girl CyberPatriot team, helping to pave a path for future generations of female Patriots. (Sam Newman)

In a field that is statistically dominated by men, Weir is one of a relatively small group of female members. By demonstrating that women can do just as well as (if not better than) many male teams, Weir’s team makes a name for other interested women nationwide to live up to, and helps to give them the recognition that they need.

The end of Weir’s high school career is hardly the end to her experience in computers; in fact, it’s just the beginning. Weir will be attending the University of Wyoming next school year, and she has her mind set on exactly what she wants to do.

“Since I’ve been a part of CyberPatriots, I’ve known that I wanted to be in computer science,” Weir claimed. “It’s a lot of fun, but it’s a lot of work.”

Though Mills will miss Weir’s hard work, dedication, and enthusiasm, he has high expectations for her future. Mills’s words sum up his thoughts of Weir:

“[She can go] as far as she wants to go. She’s got the smarts, she’s got the drive, and she’s able to think through problems and work as a problem-solver. I think the only limits to her potential are her own dreams.”

 

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