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St Catherine’s College, Armagh, in Final of National Cyber Security Contest.

“The Furious Four” Coding Team from St Catherine’s College, Armagh, travelled to Manchester for the final of a National Cyber Security contest, having battled 4,500 other pupils to be named in the Top 10 teams in the UK. The year 9 students Molly, Aoife, Annarose, and Susannah enjoyed a tour of the city on Sunday before taking part in the CyberFirst Girls’ Finals on Monday.

The competition, organised by the National Cyber Security Centre, which is part of GCHQ, saw the top ten all-girls’ teams testing their intellect and technological skills, tackling a series of cyber-security problems based on a real-world scenario.

Dr. Caroline Pereira-Lynch, St Catherine’s College, Armagh, said:

“Participation in this competition has been inspiring! The girls learned more in a week than they would have in a whole term and it was amazing to see their confidence grow over that week. They learned to decode, decrypt and decipher and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.!”

Now in its second year, it is hoped that CyberFirst Girls could spark a lifelong interest that could be turned into a fulfilling career in cyber security, helping make the UK one of the safest places to live and do business online.

1,270 teams comprising of up to 4 girls aged 12-13 fought for points by completing challenges in the preliminary online round. Of the 170 logic puzzles devised by GCHQ and NCSC masterminds, only 14 remained unsolved. The competition has seen a highly positive take up on its return, with a 52% rise in the number of schools who registered teams to compete.

Alison Whitney, the Director for Engagement at the NCSC, said:

“I’m sure everyone in Armagh will join me in congratulating the school. It is terrific that we have had such an encouraging response to the second year of the NCSC’s CyberFirst Girls Competition, and a testament to how interested girls can be in the subject.


Dr Pereira - Lynch’s students: “The Furious Four” from St Catherine’s College were the only school from Northern Ireland at the Cyber First Girls’ finals in Manchester. The Year 9 team: Molly, Aoife, Annarose, and Susannah took on nine other teams nationwide tackling a series of cyber-security problems. This is a proud moment for St Catherine's to be in the Top 10 Teams in the UK!


Congratulations to St Catherine’s College Year 9 students Annarose, Molly, Susannah & Aoife on reaching The Grand Final of The NCSC CyberFirst Girls’ Competition which was judged by The BBC's Steph McGovern.  “The Furious Four” proudly display their trophy & Competition hoodies as well as an invitation to Buckingham Palace in May!

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