By Lucas Hill, contributor
Clarkston, GA — Clarkston student Sean Awet became the first place 2022 Microsoft Word U.S. National Champion at the Certiport Microsoft Office Specialist National Championship Awards in late June.
Awet, a 15-year-old rising sophomore at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, was one of 85 finalists to participate in the championship in Dallas late last month. The finalists competed in three categories: Word documents, PowerPoints and Excel spreadsheets.
Awet, who competed in the Word document category, qualified for the national championship by scoring the highest on the statewide level Word exam. At Nationals, participants were tasked to use their knowledge of Microsoft and technology to recreate a sample of the category they competed in.
“We had 50 minutes to [recreate the document],” Awet said. “It had a lot of things you would see in a normal document – pictures, SmartArt, text boxes, a title, formatting and styling…Whoever completed theirs the fastest won, and if there was a tie, they would be graded on precision.”
In practice, Awet focused more on precision over speed. He has been interested in technology for some time, and is currently building his own computer.
“I like new technology and all the little things that go into it,” he said. “I like being able to program things to do stuff for me. At my school, they have a computer science program that certifies you in all Microsoft main exams and tests. We did Excel, PowerPoint, and Word. I did best in Word, so I decided to qualify [for Nationals].”
The winners of the national championship will advance to compete in the Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship later this month in California. Each winner and their chaperone will also have the opportunity to visit Disneyland while they are there.
Awet said that when he was announced as the winner of the Word category, he felt “overwhelming joy.” He is currently interested in other sciences, such as physics, but says he has a “back-up plan” that has to do with technology and IT.
“I want to thank my parents, especially my dad who chaperoned and took me to Texas,” Awet said. “I also want to thank my school for introducing me to Microsoft Word certification, as well as the organizers of the event. It was so much fun.”
This is the first time in two years that the Microsoft Office Specialist National Championships have been held in-person and not virtually. The World Championships will be held from July 24 – 27 in Anaheim, California, and will be live-streamed online for those unable to attend.
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