Two Virginia students win national Microsoft competition, one headed to global championship

Watchful Eye

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Two Virginia students won cash and top slots in national Microsoft Office specialist championships. And one of them is headed to the global competition.

The Microsoft Office Specialist U.S. National Championship was held in Dallas, Texas. Over 44,000 students ages 13 to 22 entered one of six competition tracks, and 85 finalists competed in the national championship.

For the competition, the finalists were given a printed document, spreadsheet, or presentation that they had to recreate. They were also provided printed instructions and digital assets, and they were scored on how well their recreation compared to the original.

Wendy Zheng, who attends Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach, won 1st place and a $3,000 prize in the Microsoft Excel category. She earned passing scores on the Microsoft 365 Apps and Microsoft Office 2019 certification exams.

Since she is the champion in Microsoft Excel, she now has the opportunity to compete in the global championship that will be held in Anaheim, CA from July 24 – 27.

Justin Henley, a New Kent High School student, won 2nd place and earned $1,500 in the Microsoft Word category with a passing score on the Microsoft Office 2016 certification exam.

“I congratulate both of these career-ready Virginia students for their accomplishments during this rigorous national competition. I also congratulate the teachers and mentors who have encouraged and challenged them along the way,” said Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jillian Balow in a press release.

The Microsoft Office Specialist program is presented by Certiport, a company that provides performance-based IT certification exams.

Commenting on all of the winners, Centiport general manager Ray Murray said, “These students demonstrated that despite multiple years of academic disruption and online learning, they’ve gained enough skills to confidently compete in a high-pressure environment. Their Microsoft certifications and participation in this competitive event will be the first step to a successful career.”

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