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Avcol sweeps NZ Microsoft competition!

Three Avondale College students have once again taken out the top places in the Microsoft Office Specialist New Zealand Championships!

Zara Colaco (Year 13), Vivek Doddi (Year 12) and Giriraj Rathore (Year 10) gained the highest scores in the national competition, which tested their knowledge and creative thinking skills in different Microsoft Office applications.

As the world’s largest IT competition, each year the Microsoft championship attracts around 1.3 million secondary school and university aged contestants from over one hundred countries.

Principal Lyndy Watkinson, said she was very proud that Avondale College students had once again dominated the New Zealand division of the competition.

“To achieve three top places in New Zealand is an exceptional achievement for these students, and is testament to our Innovation Academy,” she said.

Zara, who came first in MS Word, Vivek (first in MS Excel) and Giriraj (first in MS PowerPoint) are all part of Avondale College’s Innovation Academy which aims at bridging the gap between ICT education and the digital marketplace. The before-school programme offers students the chance to gain internationally recognised certifications in applications such as Microsoft, Adobe, Autodesk and more, as well as the opportunity to test their skills in international competitions.

This marked the second time that 18 year old Zara has won New Zealand's Microsoft Word division.

“I was glad that I could keep the national title,” she said. “I have been taking part in this competition ever since Year 9 and to get one of the top placings in both my last two years of high school was a big achievement for me. I’ve always wanted to attend the World Champs in the United States. Sadly, due to Covid I was not able to get that opportunity last year. Hopefully next year, if I’m given the chance, I would love to come back and represent the school and the country.”

The students’ success is impressive, says New Zealand Industry Qualifications (NZIQ)’s Managing Director, Jonathan Jansen.

“We’re always amazed at how incredibly proficient our student competitors become in Microsoft Office, so we designed this year’s championship test to be unbeatable; hundreds of real-world tasks with less than an hour to complete them. Our expectation was to simply see how far a competitor could get. Needless to say, we were incredibly impressed when multiple Avondale College students completed the tests entirely and with almost perfect accuracy.”

NZ's Microsoft Champions! Zara Colaco (MS Word), Giriraj Rathore (MS PowerPoint), Vivek Doddi (MS Excel)

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