Six US teens compete to be the best in the world … at Microsoft Office

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While your teenage years may have been spent blasting through video games, smoking illicit substances around the back of school, or standing awkwardly in the corner at parties, not everyone takes the same journey through life. Some teens have a different passion to fill up their spare time: Microsoft Office.

Having triumphed at the U.S. National Championships, Michelle Wu, Joseph Halikos, Andrew Parker, Ryan Catalfu, Ian Sexton, and Samuel Li will now take their skills to the global stage to see if they can earn the honor of becoming world champion. Each of the bright students specializes in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, the foundation stones of Microsoft’s productivity suite.

Office teens

To win the national prizes, the young people had to work their way to the top of a field of around 430,000 contestants via industry-standard Microsoft Office exams. The final challenge was a unique test where students were asked to replicate a document (or spreadsheet or presentation) using their computing skills and some raw digital assets.

So while you may have hit your 20s proficient in Half-Life 2 or knocking cans off a log with an air gun, these young men and women are going to be running rings around their peers in the Microsoft Office stakes instead. The World Championship event is being held this weekend in Dallas, Texas, and involves more than 100 finalists from more than 30 countries. Cash and medals are at stake as well as bragging rights — assuming you’d want to bring up your Microsoft Office world champion title in conversation.

“This competition has grown immensely in the last few years as students around the country have realized the value of earning MOS [Microsoft Office Specialist] certification to prepare for success in college and careers,” said Aaron Osmond of Certiport, which organizes the competition. “These six champions have proven their superior knowledge of Microsoft Office applications, and we wish them the best as they compete at the World Championships.”