Agora Senior Heads to National Competition

April 25, 2024 11:01 am

Agora 12th Grader Who Finished First in PA Microsoft Word Competition Heads to Nationals!


Justin Peters, a high school senior and Scranton resident, is expected to represent Agora Cyber Charter School and the state of Pennsylvania at the Microsoft Office Specialist U.S. National Championship in Orlando this June. He will compete with students from around the country and represent his title as Pennsylvania state champion for Microsoft Word 2019.


Justin enrolled at Agora for his sophomore year. Although he was successful in his school district, some outside distractions began to take place during his enrollment, when COVID-19 was also at its peak. He had spent most of his freshman year learning in his district’s virtual model, where he was often the only student.


“The teachers were great at Scranton, and nothing changed coming to Agora, except I had more options for electives,” Justin says. “I’ve even made close friends throughout Pennsylvania, and we plan to celebrate together at graduation in June.”


Justin began his involvement with Microsoft Office through pure curiosity in learning about Excel, which is where his interest in Microsoft arose.


“I chose to take the Microsoft Word certification course because I wanted to learn Excel, so I took Office 1 and Office 2,” he explains.


Justin learned about the software competition from Charly Lynn, an Agora teacher who saw it as an opportunity for him to put his great skills to use. Justin finished the entry exam in 20 minutes, with a score of 975 out of 1,000—placing him first in the entire state.


“I didn’t think anything of [my score],” Justin says. “A few days later, Mrs. Lynn called my dad and said, ‘Your son had the best score in the state.’ I was stunned.”


Having gained his Microsoft Office knowledge from Lynn’s class, Justin credits her for his success in the competition.


“Mrs. Lynn is very helpful in teaching the course, and the exam is easy as long as you’ve been doing the work,” he says.


His first-place finish presents an exciting opportunity to travel to Orlando, Florida, to take an even more challenging exam. To prep and expand his knowledge, Justin plans to take the intensive Microsoft Word Expert program.


“I have always been a tech-savvy person and a huge fan of computers. They are my passion,” he says. “Learning applications is really quick for me, and I had been using Microsoft Office for years. The Word course was very informative and taught me things I didn’t know, including a lot of information behind the scenes—like how to format shapes [and] polish and finalize a document. I learned the ins and outs of the program.”


Justin says Agora’s many course offerings have inspired him to pursue a career in technology.


“I got to take computer-science-based classes too, which is what I’m going to college for,” he says. “I wouldn’t have been as certain with what I wanted to do without this option. Agora sparked my interest in software, and I was able to take Python programming my first year. It definitely helped shape what I want to do in life.”