Milken Mini Stories:Cyber Defense Competition, AIPAC Summit, Veterans' Day Town Meeting, and Grade 11 Parent Social

Students Fend off Hackers in Cyber Defense Competition

Milken’s CyberPatriot Club participated in the Air Force-sponsored CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, on Sunday, November 5. Three Milken teams (Wildcats Platinum, Wildcats Gold, and Wildcats Silver) competed in the online competition. All three teams performed exceptionally well, with the Platinum team receiving a near perfect score, finishing at 280 out of 3,761 teams throughout the US. The Gold and Silver teams also did well and placed in the top 30% of schools. Milken’s CyberPatriot Club has grown in popularity. According to Coach Javy Martinez they will probably increase the number of Milken teams from three to four or five next year.

Teams were challenged to find and fix security vulnerabilities in a variety of networks. They were given three virtual images that simulated operating systems with known flaws and had six hours to fix all of the areas of weakness. Points were awarded to the teams when they fixed a flaw, but they were penalized if they made the system less secure in the process.

The Milken teams prepared for the competition by having weekly meetings where they reviewed checklists and met with computer professionals to ensure they were looking for vulnerabilities in the right places.

Coach Martinez was happy with the teams’ results and remarked, “It’s just our second year, and we have really young teams. We expect to have all teams competing for the nationals within a few years.” The next competition is December 8-10.

Students Attend AIPAC Summit

Eleven Milken students attended the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Schusterman Advocacy Institute High School Summit, October 29-31 in Washington D.C. They joined over 400 student leaders from high schools all across the country to learn about Israel advocacy and receive political action training to become effective pro-Israel political advocates. Students attended lectures and seminars on AIPAC’s goals, strategies, and activities on college campuses.
The delegation also managed to take time out of their busy schedule to fit in some sightseeing and visited the Mall, the Capitol Building, the Washington Monument, and several other memorials.

Lily Spar,’19 expressed the importance of advocating for Israel, “Being a Tiferet fellow, I am very passionate about Israel and care greatly about the safety of the Jewish state. However, I never realized how vital and strong the American-Israeli relationship was to the success of Israel. Going on this summit showed me why I need to advocate for this relationship and make my voice heard about why Israel should be supported. This was an amazing opportunity to learn about the government and gave me a glimpse into the complexity of lobbying and government.”

“The most important thing I learned on the summit was how to interact with those who have different views on American Israel Policy and how important it is for congress to work in a bipartisan way,” noted Max Ptasznik ’19.

The Milken students didn’t wait long to put their political activism training to work. The Summit culminated with a trip to California Congressman Ted Lieu’s office, where they lobbied his chief of staff to promote the US-Israel alliance. They addressed issues that related to Israel such as the Iran nuclear deal, the Boycott, Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement, and Hezbollah.

Town Meeting Commemorates Veterans’ Day

On Thursday, November 9, the Milken community gathered to recognize Veterans’ Day at a Town Meeting to pay tribute to those who served in our nation’s military.

Before the Kol Echad sang the national anthem and “Hatikvah,” Principal Kimberly Schwartz took to the podium and asked students to reflect on the recent events regarding racism and the shooting of unarmed people of color, as well as the counter protests regarding the respect of the flag and our military. She addressed former NFL Quarterback Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem to protest the treatment of people of color, and asked how to reconcile the values of freedom and individual rights with those of unity and respect. Students viewed a powerful video of former Green Beret Nate Boyer discussing how he suggested to Kaepernick that taking a knee during the national anthem was more respectful to the military than standing.

Stressing the importance of empathy, Schwartz emphasized to students that it is critical to have conversations that may be uncomfortable, but it is important to have them and to find and create opportunities for debate and discussion on these issues. She noted it is imperative to take action to address racism and injustice in this country.

As part of the meeting, Avi Bernat-Kunin ’18 delivered a passionate Senior Sermon. He asked whether it was enough to honor veterans by discussing their bravery and the sacrifices they made for us to live in freedom and security, or if we can do more. He revealed that it challenged him to think about his civic duty and asked himself, “How can I contribute to building the culture of democracy in America which the sacrifices of our veterans have made possible.” He explained his contribution is volunteering for Koreh LA, a literacy program through the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, and reading with young students, because every citizen needs the basic skill of literacy to participate in the American democracy.

Special guest, Tom Tugend, a decorated WWII veteran and journalist, spoke about the importance of having moral courage and standing up for what is right even in the face of adversity. Following his remarks, Head of School Gary Weisserman thanked Tugend for his service and presented him with a mezuzah. The audience rose in applause.

Many in the Milken community had personal connections to the military. When asked to stand if they had family members in the military, a handful of students and faculty stood up. Then they were asked to stand if they knew anyone who was currently in the military and more rose. Finally, they were asked if they knew anyone who had ever served in the military, and many more stood to their feet.

As part of the Veterans’ Day activities, students, faculty, and staff penned letters to active and past military members expressing gratitude for their service.  

Grade 11 Parent Social

The Grade 11 Parent Social was held on Wednesday, November 8. Parents gathered at the Head of School’s house for a fun evening of great conversation and delicious food and drinks at the social hosted by the MPA, Milken’s Parent Association. They dined on delectable poke, enjoyed a wide selection of decadent desserts and classic cocktails including Strawberry Mojitos and Moscow Mules. The event was a big success thanks to the time and effort of the MPA and Milken administrators. Thanks once again to the Weissermans for opening up their home for the occasion.

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School Information

Saperstein Middle School Campus
    15900 Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90049  
    Tel 310.903.4800 

Upper School Campus 
    15800 Zeldins’ Way, Los Angeles, CA 90049  
    Tel 310.440.3500  
    Fax 310.471.5139

Milken School is a college prep private day school in Los Angeles established on the foundation of the highest academic standards and Jewish values. This Jewish Day School serves students in grades 7-12.

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