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Skilled to Work: Arab High School students take part in cybersecurity dual enrollment class

"My dream would probably be to make my own tech company and business," said Sparks. "That would be my dream job, it seems a little ambitious but anything could happen."

Posted: Sep 9, 2021 6:23 PM
Updated: Sep 9, 2021 7:17 PM

Cybersecurity is one of the only ways to stop private information from getting into the hands of online hackers. 

Arab High School is partnering with Snead State Community College to offer high school students a dual enrollment course in cybersecurity. 

Grayson Sparks is an 11th-grade student taking the course. He may just be in high school but he already has big dreams. 

"My dream would probably be to make my own tech company and business," said Sparks. "That would be my dream job, it seems a little ambitious but anything could happen."

It's a goal he's already working toward. 

"I find it really exciting to be given this opportunity, to learn about something I may definitely be doing in the future," said Sparks. 

Sparks said his passion for computers and technology has always been there, but Sparks said his sister, a cybersecurity student at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, gave him the subtle push he needed. 

He joined the college-level course and was all in. 

"As we keep increasing our technology, we are going to need to protect it because there are going to be more attacks on it, more opportunities for it to get compromised," said Sparks. 

Arab High School had 100 students show interest in the cybersecurity dual enrollment program. Now the school has plans to create a cybersecurity elective course, within school hours. 

"We're split into two groups because there were too many kids, really," said Sparks. 

Right now, the dual enrollment class is taking place after school hours. 

Professor Thomas Battles said he's excited to see where the program will go after so many students showed initial interest. 

"Seeing people that are in high school, not already in college but right at that age, being enthusiastic about the material already, it just makes you wonder how much of that enthusiasm is going to build as they finish high school and go onto college," said Battles. 

Huntsville is a technology hub and an ideal city for students like Sparks, who want to hit the ground running. 

"In the future, it's going to become extremely important, more than it is now," said Sparks. "Especially with Huntsville, the new FBI facility, stuff like that," said Sparks. 

Sparks is already a few steps closer to owning his tech company. He plans to follow in his sister's footsteps and attend the University of Alabama in Huntsville to study Cybersecurity and Engineering. 

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