Friday, June 05, 2020

(Courtesy of AMIT) “My goal is to give 100 percent of myself to everything I do,” says the top cyber student.

When a new cyber program was introduced in the middle of last year, the students at AMIT Technological High School in Ashdod were pretty surprised. They hadn’t heard much about it and didn’t know what exactly it entailed, but it sounded intriguing.

One of the students who decided to give it a shot is Zehava D., 18, who is now in the army but was a senior at the time. “I didn’t really know that much about computers, but I decided I’ll try it and the worst-case scenario is that I won’t connect to it or pass the course,” she said.

Little did Zehava know that by the end of the course, which spanned 150 hours of training in cyber studies and information security, not only would she connect to it, but she would be named the top cyber student in Israel. Her parents, who immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia in 1992 and don’t know much about computers, were incredibly proud of her, she said.

The innovative cyber program is run by Israel’s National Cyber Directorate, the Education Ministry, the Taasiyeda organization, and the John Bryce training center.

She said the teachers at her school, formerly called AMIT Mekif Bet Ashdod, encouraged as many students as possible to try their hand at the cyber class. Even now as she completes her basic training in the army, Zehava fondly recalls the care and encouragement provided at the AMIT school, which was the natural choice for her family as they were looking for a religious school for their daughter.

“The school and the teachers always supported us and helped us with everything we needed,” she said. “The teachers always did their utmost; they always found a way to help the students with extra tutoring or whatever else they could offer.”

She also credits them with introducing her to new opportunities, such as the cyber course. In the ninth grade, she said, before students choose a subject to focus on, they are taught a little from each track (megama in Hebrew) so they can decide what to pursue. At the time, she thought of pursuing medicine, but now she sees other possibilities as well.

“The field of cyber is very broad and has many horizons,” she said. “I really connected to it. If I have the ability and the opportunity, I would love to pursue computers in the future.”

Fortunately for Zehava, she has some time to think about it. She intends to serve in the Border Police while in the army and then decide on next steps.

“My goal is to give 100 percent of myself to everything I do,” she said, “to be the best I can be and to achieve the most I can.” Sounds like she’s well on her way.

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