Teenage computer whizz Rebecca Rickwood showed she can excel in Excel after winning a worldwide championship.
Talented Rebecca, of Caldecote Road, in Stilton, near Peterborough, has taken home the title of World Champion in Microsoft Excel from the competition in San Diego, in the USA.
To scoop the crown, the 15-year-old beat more than 228,000 students from 57 countries around the globe in a hard fought contest of skill, determination and speed.
A thrilled Rebecca, who is a pupil at Sawtry Community College, had travelled across the Atlantic last Saturday and said she was delighted just to take part in the event.
But after knuckling down to take part on Monday, she then found out on Tuesday she had won, before returning home yesterday with the title and $5,000 prize.
She said: “I took the exams and entered the competition but I didn’t think about it.
“I was so shocked to hear that I had won and was going to San Diego for the finals.
“I’m really excited. I really didn’t think I would win. When I was waiting with all the other students to hear the result I was really nervous.
“I heard my name read out in first place and I just couldn’t believe it. I’m ecstatic, I can’t believe I won and now I’m world champion. It’s a day I’ll never forget.”
She travelled to the US with parents Adam and Tracy (both 46) and brother Matthew (13), who are delighted with her win.
Rebecca added: “We had a good time out there. We didn’t get to see much of San Diego itself, but it was still really good.
“My friends and family are all very happy for me.”
Rebecca had earned her right to attend the world finals in May after she achieved the top nationwide score in the Microsoft Office Specialist Excel certification exam.
She sat the exam at college and since then, she has continued to hone her skills by studying at lunch and in the evenings at her school, supported by teacher Pam Kitchen.
She said: “I’m absolutely delighted for Rebecca.
“She really is a wonderful student who is extremely talented but, also, a very modest person.
“What was most impressive was her hard work and dedication during lunchtimes and after school. We told her to go out to San Diego and be herself and are obviously thrilled to have her coming back to us as world champion.”
Kevin Ryan, marketing manager with Prodigy Learning, who are responsible for the competition in the UK, said: “We realised Rebecca was extremely talented and one to watch from her scores in the UK championships in May.
“But the world competition is another level; it’s highly competitive and notoriously difficult to win, particularly for someone so young.
“Rebecca really has done her country proud. I believe she has a very bright future ahead indeed.”
FACTFILE on... Rebecca’s triumph
THIS year was the 10th annual Worldwide Competition on Microsoft Office.
It features the Microsoft Excel 2007 category, won by Rebecca, but also in Microsoft Word 2010, Microsoft Excel 2010, Microsoft Word 2007 and Microsoft PowerPoint 2007.
It aims to show a student’s ability in the programme with Rebecca tested on formulas, formatting, databases and speed in Excel.
Next year, the 2012 Worldwide Competition on Microsoft Office will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.