Students gain certifications through IT Academy
Published 1:49 pm Friday, November 13, 2015
By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer
PELHAM— Students looking to pursue a career in computer programming or software design have the opportunity to jump-start the process in Pelham High School’s IT Academy.
This is the first year this academy has been offered at the school, but the students are already building on their resumes as ninth- and 10th-graders, according to course instructor Jason Haithcock.
Currently, the students are working toward being certified in Microsoft Word, and Haithcock said the goal is to have students certified in Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint by the end of the year.
“Anyone interested in these fields (computer and software programming), this would be perfect for them,” Haithcock said. “Most all businesses are going to operate with your Microsoft Office programs. Students here have the opportunity to get certified in all programs.”
The students will take tests on the programs and if they score a 70 or higher, they will receive certifications from Microsoft. Haithcock said students also have the opportunity to earn expert certifications, as well as compete in statewide and national contests.
Olivia Johnson, Caroline April and Donovan Ross are members of IT advisory committee for the class, and each student added the academy to their schedule for different reasons.
“When I grow up, I want to do something with webpage design or graphic design,” Johnson said. “When we were doing schedules, the person told me this would be the best class to do for that because the next class would be graphic design, so you learn more about computer programs.”
April told her counselor she wanted to open her own business and was advised to take the IT Academy as part of the business tech track. Although she decided she would like to pursue a career in social work, she said the IT Academy is helpful for her.
“I’m being certified in Microsoft Word and it’ll help me with putting names in computers and things for kids,” April said. “I think it’s cool how we get certified in Word.”
Ross said he is glad to have the opportunity to take this class in high school because he believes it will help in his pursuit of a business degree. He said this class, along with the others in the track, will be beneficial for him.
The next route for the students interested in continuing in the IT Academy is the computer science course, according to Haithcock. In that course the students will get more into coding and computer programming.
Students seem to enjoy the IT class, according to Haithcock, especially the independent nature of the course. All the students can work at their own pace to make the deadline Haithcock sets for them.
“They like being independent,” he said. “We are in a time and age where students are using computers and doing things on their own…I think they like being able to be independent and do their own thing at their own pace.”