Press "Enter" to skip to content

James A. Shanks students are Microsoft Certified

James A. Shanks Middle School teacher Cornelius Pace hopes to impact the lives of his students one certification at a time.

During Pace’s 2020-2021 vocational education class, James A. Shanks students had the opportunity to become certified with Microsoft Programs such as PowerPoint, Word, Access, Outlook and Excel.

According to Pace, the certifications are industry certifications that are recognized world-wide and have extended life on them – meaning they will not be outdated.

“They are employable skills that the students gain,” Pace said. “It’s the same certification they’re going to see at Florida State, Florida A&M University or Bethune. It’s the same certification everybody worldwide is taking.”

Sylvia Jackson, the director of Adult Career and Technical Education in Gadsden County, poses with Alyssa Shalabi, one of the students who became Microsoft certified. The students were awarded with Amazon Fire devices as a result of their hard work to become certified.

Andrew McGriff, one of the scholars who became certified during Pace’s class, says he is looking forward to assisting people with his newly certified skills.

“[I feel] proud because I can help people with slideshows, word documents and data,” McGriff said.

McGriff became certified in Microsoft Access, Word and PowerPoint.

Upon passing their certification exams, students were given tablets and some students were able to speak with Charles Hobbs, III who is the IT Student and Operations Manager at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia.

Trevon Ross, who was at the time of the class a rising eighth grade student, is now certified in Word, PowerPoint and Outlook.

Ross says he is thankful for the opportunity to speak to Hobbs.

“It feels good because you see African-Americans being successful in life,” Ross said. “It makes you feel good, like you can do something instead of getting killed and stuff like that.”

Sylvia Jackson is the Director of Adult Career and Technical Education in Gadsden County.

According to Jackson, career and technical education includes students from eighth grade into adulthood and is about going from school to a career field.

The students of Cornelius Pace’s Vocational Education Class at James A. Shanks Middle School pose with their official certifications in Microsoft programs.

Jackson says she is glad to see students achieve this chapter of success at a young age.

“For me it is amazing,” said Jackson. “Seeing our young people at the beginning of this journey earning certifications that could actually result in employment, because they know all the elements in this case of the Microsoft bundle. It is validating that what we are doing is preparing students for the workforce.”

Breanna Rittman – Gadsden County News Service