Fire up “We are the Champions” by Queen. Let the party streamers pop. Break out the champagne! Whoops, on second though, hold the champagne. It’s time to celebrate — responsibly — the accomplishments of six high school students from school districts across the United States. So, yeah, put the champagne back on ice until the next professional sports team wins something.
The winners of this year’s Microsoft Office Specialist National Championship may not have reached the legal drinking age, but they are, clearly, more than old enough to have mastered the tools in the tech industry’s best known desktop productivity suite. Six champions were crowned at a rigorous competition earlier this week in Atlanta, Ga.
More than 350,000 students across the United States successfully passed a Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam while fighting for the right to compete on the national stage. Out of that group, 147 finalists earned the right to compete in Atlanta, where the field was narrowed still further, with the six champions (and 12 runners-up) ultimately emerging.
During the competition, contestants are given a printed copy of Microsoft Word document, Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, or Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. Each contestant must then recreate the finished product from scratch, using only Microsoft Office and their native wits. Winners are named for both the 2013 and 2016 versions of Microsoft Office.
The U.S. winners will compete at the World Championship level of the competition later this summer (July 29-Aug. 1) in Orlando, Fla. U.S. winners and runners-up are:
MOS Word 2016
First Place: Aydan Soto, Osceola Fundamental High School (Florida)
Second Place: Alexis Deynes, Princess Anne High School (Virginia)
Third Place: Elizabeth Sandlin, Walton-Verona High School (Kentucky)
MOS Excel 2016
First Place: Kevin Dimaculangan, Dunbar High School (Florida)
Second Place: Stephanie Chudy, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Wisconsin)
Third Place: Forrest Liu, Green Hope High School (North Carolina)
MOS PowerPoint 2016
First Place: Linh Nguyen, Auburn Mountainview High School (Washington)
Second Place: Ethan Gilmore, Pine View Middle School (Utah)
Third Place: Ashwin Prasad, Green Hope High School (North Carolina)
MOS Word 2013
First Place: Jesse Ssengonzi, Green Hope High School (North Carolina)
Second Place: Landon Laviolette, Breaux Bridge High School (Louisiana)
Third Place: Bailey Griffin, Lake Stevens High School (Washington)
MOS Excel 2013
First Place: Jason Benda, Sun Prarie High School (Wisconsin)
Second Place: Joseph Litz, Princess Anne High School (Virginia)
Third Place: Edward John Legaspi, Georgia Southern University (Georgia)
MOS PowerPoint 2013
First Place: Cameron Pillatsch, Princess Anne High School (Virginia)
Second Place: Cole Stranahan, Sanford Middle School (Florida)
Third Place: Haley Grace Boan, Bleckley County High School (Georgia)
Students ages 13 to 22 are eligible to participate. (So, yes, some of the honorees at this year’s competition could have sipped champagne. Not any of the six first-place winners, though, which is what our point was.)