Black Excellence: This 15-Year-Old Is A Microsoft Office Specialist U.S. National Champion

Photo via: Certiport 

Jesse Ssengonzi of Cary, North Carolina was recently deemed one of the best Microsoft Word users in the United States. After winning first place in the Microsoft Word 2013 category, the 15-year-old collected $3,000, an award medal, a trophy, and an all-expense paid trip to Orlando, Florida to compete in the world finals this week.

Last month, students ages 13-22 competed in the 2018 Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) U.S. National Championship in Atlanta, Georgia. Competitors completed one of six timed competition tracks, including Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to determine how proficient they were with the software by re-creating assigned documents. Over 350,000 students from all over the United States entered the competition yet only 147 made it to the finalist rounds to participate in last month’s competition. Out of the six United States champions, Ssengonzi was the only Black student to be crowned a national champion.

Ssengonzi shared that he practiced a lot after school by taking various certification exams to prepare for the competition. "I didn’t expect to be called on. I thought I did well but I was kind of nervous. So, yeah I was really happy," he shared. His extensive exposure to the software and the certifications that he has now earned in preparation for this competition will surely come in handy as he pursues different job and internship opportunities.

"We're so impressed by all of these students—they've proven they can use Microsoft Office tools effectively which will be a key to successful academic and career pursuits," said Raymond Murray, Vice President, Business Development, Pearson VUE in a released statement. "Our goal is to turn these students from learners to earners, and many of them go on to win internships and jobs as a result of proving their skills in Microsoft Office."

An anticipated more than 150 champions from over 30 countries will compete in this week's MOS World Competition. Six first, second, and third place winners will be crowned world champions. Participants will again compete for cash prizes, medals, and the title of Microsoft Office Specialist World Champion. Best of luck, Jesse!


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