By Alex Bainbridge
I had been hoping to qualify for Certiport’s competition for several months. Finally knowing that I made it to the competition made me feel amazing; however, I was in disbelief when I learned that I had qualified and won the US title for Microsoft Excel 2010. I set out to do something and I achieved it after all my hard work. Everyone I knew was thrilled for me when they found out I had qualified for the competition. I really have to thank my family, my friends, and my teacher whom helped me practice and prepare for the competition. I also appreciate SAS who loaned me a computer so I was able to practice at home.
The next step was to pack my bags and head over to Las Vegas. Stepping off the airplane was like stepping into a new world. I had never been to Vegas so seeing all of the hotels and flashing signs was really interesting and unique. The Luxor, Excalibur, and Aria all towered over us as we drove down the strip, but at the end of our journey loomed the Bellagio. The Bellagio was huge and immense as we neared the spraying fountains in front of the hotel.
When I entered the hotel, the hand blown glass ceiling and the botanical gardens astounded me. The gardens had a miniature bridge, a collection of huge creatures, and even a carousel. With the fountains spraying every 30 minutes this hotel was quite an amazing place to be.
The US Championship award ceremony and ice cream social was my first experience of meeting new friends. I was able to meet all these people who were just like me. They all had their different histories, but we had all gotten to the same place with the same talent, our proficiency in Microsoft Office.
The Champions’ Lounge was incredible. There were loads of beanbags, tables, and even a huge TV screen. There were many new faces from all over the world. I was able to make lots of new friends as we all waited for our time to test. We all wished each other luck as some of our new friends began to start their tests while the others sat in the room anxiously awaiting their turn.
The Grand Canyon trip was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. The view was amazing, the sights and sounds from being so high up; the weird feeling that you were actually higher than some of the rain clouds nearby.
The awards ceremony had a great comedian who kept everyone laughing. He juggled, balanced a ladder on his chin, and even rode a unicycle. When my name was called as one of the bronze medalists I couldn’t believe it. I had been hoping for a medal, but to know that I actually got it was an amazing feeling. Several of my new friends also won medals in their own tracks.
The whole trip was an amazing experience that I will not soon forget. Everything that I have done in the Certiport competition, all the people I’ve met and things that I’ve seen, will stick with me for many years to come. I have decided to try and come back next year.