MINT HILL, NC – Ariel Vang and Avery Holsinger, both students at Independence High School in Charlotte, recently received perfect test scores in a professional college-level business course, qualifying them for the Microsoft Office Specialist U.S. National Championship, an honor granted to only the highest-achieving students in the state.
Students rarely gain a perfect score on this assessment, but must score at least 700 out of 1,000 points to be granted a professional business specialist certificate. Kimberly Renner, their Computer Science Information Technology Education Teacher, has worked tirelessly to ensure that her students stand out in the Microsoft Imagine Academy Curriculum, which teaches Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Students taking her course receive credit from the local community college if they pass the class.
The competition in the educational environment of Ms. Renner’s class among these students is high because they are also competing for scholarships and to qualify for the Microsoft Office Specialist U.S. National Championship, which is held in Florida in June. Currently, the students have qualified, and at the time of this article, Independence High School is ranked second in the state of North Carolina, a ranking that changes as other schools continue to complete their coursework.
If students attend the National Championship, scholarships are available from $250 to $1,000. In addition, if the students place first, second, or third in the National Championship, they can qualify for a $3,000 scholarship, trophy, medal, and all-expense paid trip to the World Championship Competition. Microsoft and other technology companies sponsor the championship competitions. Once students qualify for the national championship, they are also qualified to interview with these prestigious technology companies for internships and job offers.
Ms. Renner states that her students learn valuable skills in Word, Powerpoint, and Excel that will help them shine in college and will be recorded on their transcripts, enabling them to enter the next level of classes as freshmen. In addition, students can earn certificates in Microsoft Office as Basic Experts, Word and Excel Experts, and Microsoft Office Expert Specialists.
Ariel Vang and Avery Holsinger both earned their Microsoft Office Specialist Associate Certificate. The entire class block earned certificates, and 92% passed the course with certification in hand. Ms. Renner is exceptionally proud of the hard work and diligence her students have shown in their journey to earn certification and qualify for the National Championship. While earning the certificates and qualifying for Nationals can be stressful, Ms. Renner encourages all her students to believe in themselves. She creates a special ceremony for when her students receive their certificates so that all of the students can be proud of their work. Students in the CTE program have shown strong performance skills, and the program is exceeding expectations at Independence High School.
Avery Holsinger and Ariel Vang are looking forward to the chance to compete in the Microsoft Office Specialist U.S. National Championship in June in Florida. Ms. Renner, the staff, and the entire student body at Independence High School are proud of Avery and Ariel’s achievements and wish them every success as they prepare to compete!