GTPulse: Traverse City Student Named Microsoft Word Specialist State Champion
Owen Suhy wants to be an accountant. At 16 years old he has a plan mapped out for his career and that includes studying the practical and necessary profession.
“I always liked numbers. Math’s gotten different through the years and I didn’t like it. Accounting seems to be all numbers and not letters. It’s something I can handle and it seems interesting.”
Although he’s known for a while that he was going to pursue accounting, he didn’t know that he was going to earn the highest score statewide on a CTE certification exam.
CTE stands for Career and Technical Education. The skills-focused classes are designed to give middle school and high school students training in specific fields like agriculture, hospitality, manufacturing and business. TCAPS offers CTE classes and Owen, a Junior at Traverse City Central High School, is going to be dual enrolled next semester, taking classes at his high school and at NMC. A class he decided to take this semester was a CTE class dedicated to business technology.
“We learn about Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. I used to be a really big technology geek, but as time went on I drifted from it. I thought the class would be interesting, mainly because I needed an Excel certification for my accounting degree.”
Owen studied the material for the class with focus and vigor. He was three weeks ahead of the rest of the class by the time the first exam came up. The first exam Owen received at 914 out of 1000. Unsatisfied with the grade, he retook the exam.
“I’m one of those people. Two days later I retook it, I got the perfect score and I didn’t think anything of it.”
At the end of the exam, Owen had checked a box that asked him if he would like his score submitted for review for a state championship. The following Tuesday morning he received an email when he came into class telling him that he was invited to Dallas for the Microsoft Office Suite U.S. National Championship Competition.
“I thought it was spam. Usually the ‘you’re invited’ emails are all fake. But they carbon copied my teacher, so I thought that was interesting. I went down to talk to her about it and she was excited. She was telling me all about what it could mean. I found out then that I was the state champion.”
Owen said that he doesn’t think that it was just his score that factored into winning. He also believed that his speedy time paired with his perfect score is what made him stand out.
“I must have done the best in the shortest amount of time. I know it took me less than half an hour.”
His class applauded him when the teacher announced his perfect score. While his classmates continue to test at a standard level, Owen is ahead and testing at the expert level. He hasn’t gotten a perfect score yet but he will need to master the expert level work before heading to the championship in June.
“I went back to review the stuff the other day and a lot of it just went right over my head so I’m going to have to re-study it. In my opinion, though the original certification wasn’t too challenging. The expert, I like the level I was at I think it was just right.”
The championship will have Owen competing with other students from across the U.S. who have also had top scores in their states. Owen will be competing on his knowledge of Microsoft Word and winners of this competition will continue on to the world championship.
The CTE class he is in now ends next month and he plans on staying after school to use resources in preparation for June.
“I like how it’s right after school ends. I can get my last round of thinking, have a weekend, and go do it.”
If Owen makes it to the world championship it will be all expenses paid, however, he and his family will foot the bill for the trip to Dallas. Owen’s mom has set up a GoFundMe page so that they can raise the extra money needed to get to Texas.
In the world of Microsoft Office, Owen has achieved higher success and understanding as a highschool student than most people have as working, professional adults and he doesn’t plan to stop there.
“The class I just took, I might take it again next year because the computers are going to update to [Microsoft] 2019. So, I can get the updated certifications without really needing to try. Then I’d be in a better spot to get the expert 2019 perfect score.”
His hard work and dedication are inspiring, and he has all of Northern Michigan rooting for him to win. Go Owen!