Jacob Kearsley, a senior at Centennial High School, is one of the best in the nation at using Microsoft Word.
He won a $1,500 scholarship for placing second against 124 competitors at the National Microsoft Office Specialist Competition organized by Certiport, which offers certification exams for Microsoft Office. Jacob is the first Idaho student to ever place. The national finals were held in Orlando, Fla.
“I was shocked I won,” Jacob said. “I knew I had messed up in one area and I was freaking out and didn’t think I had a chance.”
Jacob was given a printed copy of a document which he had to recreate on Microsoft Word. Judges scored him on the accuracy of the recreating of the document.
“At first I panicked, I couldn’t remember for the life of me how to complete one of the tasks,” Jacob said. “The competition was tough, but worth it. I’m proud and excited that I got to represent my state.”
Before competing in the national event, Jacob earned Idaho State Champion honors in Excel, PowerPoint and Word after achieving the state’s highest scores. He competed against 320,000 students nationwide during the qualifying round in the spring.
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Jacob recently found his passion for Microsoft Office. He enrolled in a computer application class at Centennial High School last year and by May he had completed computer application one, two and three. Jacob received class credit for two courses and he took the third class on his free time through the Idaho Microsoft Imagine Academy.
“I wasn’t trying to rush through the classes, it just clicked with my brain,” Jacob said. “I realized I was going home and creating documents for fun.”
Jacob also holds a Microsoft Office master certification — the highest certification you can receive with Microsoft Office. Jacob demonstrates an expertise of Excel, PowerPoint, Word and Access.
“Having this certification is a huge deal,” said Jeanne Paseman, a business teacher at Centennial High School. “I’m very proud of him.”
Jacob owns a 4.0 grade-point average and plans to study molecular biology in college. He would like to go back to the National Microsoft Office Specialist Competition next year and compete in the Excel or PowerPoint competition.