Filipino Student from Ireland Wins 1st Place at Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship 2022 – Word 2016 Category

Rohan Matthias Vargas won 1st in the Word 2016 Category at the Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship 2022. With him are his mother Ma. Tessa Coro Vargas and US-based Uncle Desmond Coro

Rohan Matthias Vargas, 16, from Kilkenny, Ireland took home the 1st place prize in the Word 2016 Category at the Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship 2022 held at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, Anaheim, California from July 24-27. 

In its 20th year, the competition attracted more than one million students ages 13-22 from around the world who competed to prove their superior skills in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, culminating in the most popular technology skills competition on Microsoft Office—and the only one endorsed by Microsoft since its inception in 2002.

The World Championship saw 95 finalists from 21 different countries across the globe compete for the coveted world championship title in their respective categories. Rohan won the gold for Ireland, earning himself a $7,000 scholarship fund, a Microsoft Surface Go 2 Laptop and Microsoft Surface In-Ear Wireless Earbuds.

The concluding round of the competition consisted of two parts. The first part featured a 50-minute timed exam where students demonstrated fundamental and advanced skills of Microsoft Office. The second part involved a 3-hour, free-form project which required students to research a common topic, formulate their opinions and display their findings in an asset appropriate to their given category e.g. a report in Word, a slide presentation in PowerPoint and a workbook in Excel.

Rohan was born in Ireland to parents Rodel from Pasay City and Ma. Tessa from Leyte, who moved to Ireland in 2002. The CBS Kilkenny Secondary School student still can’t fathom how he feels after taking home the world championship title for Ireland. He truly didn’t expect to win amidst the very tough competition this year which is the championship’s first in-person inception since the pandemic.   

When he was announced winner, Rohan beams, “I froze when I saw my name appear on the screen, it was an ecstatic feeling. My whole family back home in Ireland including my cousins were watching the live broadcast of the event.” Our reactions were definitely the highlight of the event – the Irish team were one of loudest despite us having one of the smallest teams!” beamed Rohan who still is still unsure what to do with the prize money.

As with his future, Rohan never expected that IT would be field that he would excel at, however, having such expertise and certifications will definitely help him secure careers in years to come. This powerful workforce credential will pave the way for him in college and whatever comes ahead. 

“I implore all Filipinos at home and abroad to take part in this prestigious competition. Certification is fruitful in its benefits and will have long-lasting impacts in any career you wish to pursue. The IT industry is such an active and ever-changing realm and the skills you will achieve through certification will enhance your professional profile and give you that edge over other candidates. You get to interact with students across the world and also have immense fun and enjoyment – Disneyland did not disappoint! Win or lose, it is only the beginning for all competitors. I am profoundly grateful for my family, my school community at CBS Kilkenny and the entire team at Prodigy Learning Ireland who were instrumental in making it possible for me to stand on the global stage and make my country proud. It is never too late, I only started studying for Word 6 months ago – get certified!”

Rohan Matthias Vargas with parents Rodel and Ma. Tessa, and brothers Rory (11) and Rionn (9)

Rodel’s advice to son Rohan: “Be humble and modest. Always give credit and be grateful to those who helped you along the way. We will always support you in the next chapter of your journey, whether you decide to take Excel or PowerPoint certifications in the future. We are immensely proud of your achievements.”

Author: Vanda Brady