From December 2010 to June 2011, more than 72,000 United States students competed to demonstrate their proficiency in utilizing the world's foremost desktop computing applications.
Current students who passed a qualifying exam and attend an approved, degree-seeking academic institution were eligible to compete in the United States Regional Competition on Microsoft Office.
The top five finalists will compete at this year's World Championships held in San Diego, California on August 1-3, 2011.
Miranda Hill, a finalist for Microsoft Word 2010, just graduated from Spring Creek High School in North Carolina. Next year she will attend the University of North Carolina at Penbrook to study music education, with a goal to one day teach at the college level. Although she did not have a lot of experience with technology beforehand, Miranda was required to take a technology course during her senior year to become a North Carolina scholar.
"I had never really done anything with technology other than write school reports," said Miranda. "However, once I started the Microsoft IT course I got really excited about technology and certification. Microsoft Word came most easily to me, and I was so excited to hear I would be a finalist in the Worldwide Competition."
Miranda's business teacher, Jennifer Tyndall, was impressed with her achievement since she had never taken a business class before. In fact, the business department at Spring Creek High School was dwindling until they became a Microsoft Academy and began to offer certification. Now, 200 students at the rural school of 885 total students are enrolled in the Microsoft Academy.
"Miranda was actually the first student to certify at Spring Creek High School," said Jennifer. "She had never taken a business class, but I could tell from her determination that she would work hard and earn certification. She did more than just pass, she excelled on the exam and I've seen her confidence grow as a result."
Miranda is very driven and has earned several other certifications in addition to becoming a finalist in Microsoft Word 2010.
Kami Martin of Jacksonville High School is a finalist for Microsoft Excel 2007. She will graduate next year and plans to go to college and major in psychology with a minor in computer science. Kami has always liked computers and earned Microsoft Office Specialist certification in PowerPoint, Excel and Word at Jacksonville High School, a rural school that pays for students to earn technology certification with federal Perkins dollars.
"Certification is good for my resume, and studying for the Microsoft exams came pretty natural and easy for me," said Kami. "I already use Excel in my current job, and I know it will be useful after I graduate. I'm glad my teacher encouraged me to pursue the Worldwide Competition on Microsoft Office because becoming a finalist has already opened up lots of options."
Kami says her teacher, Chuck Silvertooth, thought she had a shot at becoming a finalist in the Worldwide Competition on Microsoft Office and encouraged her to pursue it by studying over the summer. Mr. Silvertooth has been teaching Microsoft courses for six years and offering certification for four.
"Jacksonville is an agricultural area, and we are trying to change the climate of the community by helping kids see they can be technical and business-oriented as well," said Chuck. "Certification is one piece of that puzzle, and it has become a major drive within our department. These are the skills colleges and employers are looking for, and we want to help our high school students learn and validate them."
Kami has been reviewing all of the advanced Excel features to prepare and is excited to compete at the Worldwide Competition.
Breana Guarnera, a Microsoft Word 2007 Finalist, just finished her freshman year at Queen Anne's County High School in Maryland. She may seem like an unlikely certification candidate, since she likes sports and cheerleading, and her favorite subject is history. However, Dennis Macy noticed Breana's strong work ethic and good grades, and approached her about earning certification last year.
"I am interested in business and have always been pretty good with Microsoft Word for my school projects," said Breana. "When Mr. Macy approached me about certification, I was excited because I want to pursue anything that will help me in the future. I have only taken one semester of computer courses, but now I use those skills every day."
Teacher Dennis Macy says Breana is extremely dedicated and has a great attitude about success and failure.
"Participating in the Worldwide Competition is going to give Breana even more confidence," said Dennis. "I tell all of my students about the benefits of technology certification on their resume and in their daily activities. For a ninth grader, Breana is on another level and I know she is going to go far in life."
Breana said although she was pretty good at using Microsoft Word for school projects, she had to know a lot more than just the basics to earn the Microsoft Office Specialist certification. She looks forward to competing against the other finalists for the title of 'World Champion.'
Brian Broom-Peltz, a Chemical Engineering Major at Tulane University, is a Microsoft Excel 2010 finalist. He spends his spare time long boarding and dreaming about working in alternate fuels someday. Brian says his mother, the "spreadsheet queen," may be the source of the unexpected aptitude for Excel he discovered while taking classes as part of the Business Computing Summer Intensive program in the A.B. Freeman School of Business.
"I took the business computing course because it was required for my minor, but my motivation came from a long history of entrepreneurial spirit," said Brian. "Excel is a really valuable tool to have. One of my professors recently asked me to analyze his data and I was able to find a trend for his study."
Professor Urmi Roy agrees that Excel is essential, and she teaches her students more than enough about Excel to pass certification, and even prepares them for Expert certification.
"I encourage all of my students to enter the Microsoft competition and I was pleased to hear Brian was a finalist," said Professor Roy. "My course is a pre-requisite in the business department and Microsoft Excel certification is extremely valuable for students going into any field such as Brian's work in Chemical Engineering."
Professor Roy recently gave Brian some tips and he is working hard to prepare for the Worldwide Competition in San Diego.
Juliana Toyloy-Stanton, a Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 finalist, will be a junior at Dunbar High School in the fall. After enjoying computer courses in middle school, she earned a lottery spot to participate in the extremely successful Technology Academy for Excellence at Dunbar High School. She took the Microsoft Office Specialist PowerPoint exam during her sophomore year and became the first ever U.S. PowerPoint finalist since this is the first year the exam will be included in the Worldwide Competition.
Juliana gives a lot of credit to Dunbar High School, where she says every teacher is there to help. "No matter what, the teachers at Dunbar will try to help set you on the right path and get you to college," she said. "Mr. Miller pushed me to continue to study and do better on the exam."
Teacher Matt Miller was thrilled when he heard Juliana was a finalist, since making it to the Worldwide Competition was a big goal for her all along. He is proud of how successful the certification program at Dunbar High School has been in helping hundreds of students earn certification.
"We have been helping hundreds of kids get certified for the past five years, and now we are looking beyond certification to help them bridge these skills to get into college and the workforce," said Matt. "Juliana has always been a bright student, but now she has found her niche and has a real opportunity for the first time with the competition."
Juliana adds that she is proud she is given so many opportunities her own mother, who is from Trinidad, did not have. "My mother didn't have access to technology growing up. I'm grateful I have so many opportunities and I look forward to giving back to my community and my family to thank them someday."
June 30, 2011
August 1, 2011
August 2, 2011
Pictured from left to right: Takeshi Numoto, Ryan Miguel, Jason Bays, Gov. Gary Herbert, Adrian Mercado, Nicole Sponaugle, Ray Kelly
Providing a platform for students to showcase their extraordinary skills using Microsoft Office tools, this nationally recognized competition enables students to:
Thousands of students from the United States will compete from November 2010 through June 2011, demonstrating their proficiency with the world's foremost desktop computing applications. The top finalists will win an all-expense paid trip to San Diego, USA to participate in the Certiport-sponsored Worldwide Competition on Microsoft Office. The Worldwide Competition will be held at the Torrey Pines Hilton, Sunday, July 31 through Wednesday, August 3, 2011.
Please contact your local Certiport Solution Provider or contact Certiport at MOSchampionship@pearson.com.
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