Columbia Junior High School has been awarded for its Microsoft Office Specialist certification testing. Based on certification testing results last school year, Columbia was one of the top 15 schools in the state for the percentage of student body that achieved Microsoft Office certification. Columbia received a $1,000 scholarship for any student of its choosing who successfully achieved the certification. Based on having the highest average score on the certification test, and being the first to do so, Education/Business and Marketing teacher Keith Hannah chose Alyx Gibbs as the scholarship recipient.
Hannah, who launched the Microsoft Office Specialist certification program last year, said Gibbs was the obvious choice.
“Right away, I thought of Alyx because she was the first 1,000-point scorer, which is a perfect score,” he said. “The cumulative average of her test scores was the highest so to me that made logical selection criteria.”
Unlike many typical scholarships, there are no specific strings attached. The recipient can designate it however she or he wants, whether for an academic scholarship, for a financial need scholarship or whatever the educational need may be.
Hannah said Gibbs is one of those students who teachers love to encounter along the path of their teaching career.
“When you look at all the students one teaches in an academic year, Alyx is definitely one you could pinpoint right away as somebody who is gifted.” He said that Gibbs breaks the mold, so to speak, when it comes to young peoples’ familiarity with the various aspects of using a computer.
“There’s kind of a misconception that young people, because they use technology all the time are really good at it, but I think kids are really good at using the computer as an entertainment device and not necessarily as a productivity tool. It’s much less common to have somebody that is gifted at using it as a productivity tool as well as an entertainment device.”
While Gibbs, now a sophomore at Fife High School, is still a few years away from graduating, she has some idea of fields of study she’d like to pursue. “I plan to go into information technology or help desk in the future, but I’m only a sophomore,” she said. “Technology and mathematics have always been my favorite subjects, but I pretty much like all my classes, and I love all the teachers I have.” Alyx has been in Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) since ninth grade and is in the National Honors Society.
Her mom, Denise Gibbs, said Alyx has always been naturally curious about computers and technical types of things, so it seemed logical that Alyx would do well in Microsoft Office Specialist certification.
“I’m not surprised at all the she would excel in it because she’s always loved and enjoyed that so much,” Denise said. “We’ve had a computer in the house ever since she was born, and her dad used to work for Microsoft, so we’ve always been a tech kind of family, and they (Alyx and her brother) just grew up with that. They had all this time when they were younger to experiment with PowerPoint and Word and so many different things.”
Born and raised in Washington, Alyx entered the Fife School District in the sixth grade, having been home schooled prior to that through Washington Virtual Academy. She said she became a lot more challenged academically once she started going to Fife.
“When I started going to Fife I did a lot better academically. I learned a lot more things,” Alyx said. “Here in Fife, we’re practically one big family. That’s what it feels like to me.”
Used in business and industry as a benchmark of competency using Microsoft Office applications, the Microsoft Office Specialist certification not only looks impressive on a resume or job application; it sends a clear message to potential employers that this candidate really know their stuff when it comes to Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Access programs.