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DHS students place well in national Cisco NetRider competition

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From page A6 | May 26, 2013 |

Davis High School seniors Benjamin Smithers, left, and Nolan Taeksang Yoo come alive when they're working on a computer networking problem. Smithers will attend UC Santa Cruz this fall and Yoo is headed to the University of Washington in Seattle. Courtesy photo

Davis High School seniors Nolan Taeksang Yoo and Benjamin Smithers finished 13th in the nation — posting the highest score for a team from California — in the 2013 Cisco Networking Academy NetRiders Competition.

The contest is designed to develop networking and information technology skills among students from around the nation and Canada, and promote future careers in the field of computers and technology.

“I’ve always been into computers,” Smithers told The Enterprise.”So when I started looking at the high school course catalog, I noticed that the prerequisite for one of the courses that I really wanted was the networking class. So I took the networking class, and I really got into it. Then our teacher, Mr. Kevin Anderson, told us about the NetRiders Competition, and I had to try it out.”

Added Yoo, “As long as I’m working with computers, I’m happy.” Like Smithers, he took the networking class because it opened the door to other courses that interested him. And when the opportunity to compete in the NetRiders Competition came up, “I jumped in,” Yoo said.

Smithers and Yoo learned some of what they needed to compete in Anderson’s networking class.

“We also got our own study books,” Smithers said.

The actual competition took the form of an online test, including a mix of multiple-choice questions and online simulations in which competitors solve network-related problems.

“We knew it would be hard, so we studied,” Yoo said.

“And there were parts of the test that surprised me,” Smithers added.

Anderson said Yoo and Smithers “did an awesome job in the competition.”

This is the two students’ second year in the information technology class at Davis High, Anderson said, adding that Yoo has been in programming and the Cisco Networking Academy and Smithers has been in the Cisco Networking Academy, programming and the tech TA class.”

Anderson recently took a group of DHS students, including Smithers and Yoo, on a field trip to the Intel campus in Folsom.

“At Intel, they showed us the next generation of desktop computers … they are small, about the size of a book,” he said.

Smithers said that when he has free time, “I have a lot of video games that I play, and I do school work a lot (using a computer), and graphic design.”

Yoo said, “I’m normally programming. I write back ends for servers, mostly, little scripts and utilities so that certain things can be done automatically. And I write games.”

After he graduates from Davis High in June, Yoo will be off to the University of Washington in Seattle to study computer science.

“Even though networking isn’t a subset (of the requirements for the major), I’m probably going to take the network certification test this summer. It’s good stuff to know,” Yoo said.

Smithers will be a student at UC Santa Cruz this fall. He hasn’t declared a major, but is leaning toward “astrophysics or computer science. I want to further my knowledge of networking and programming, And I’m planning to pursue two certifications this summer.”

— Reach Jeff Hudson at jhudson@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8055.

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