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They are Tampa Bay’s hometown heroes, this “Terrific Trio.”

They are Tampa Bay’s hometown heroes, this “Terrific Trio.”

Certified Trio

Left to right are said Kamren Jaylen Howell, Torrion Williams, and Dennis Thicklin, Jr.

They are Tampa Bay’s hometown heroes, this “Terrific Trio.”

Although they don’t have capes, they are cloaked with knowledge and have wizardly powers over modern computers.  They solve many mysteries about software and have the credentials to prove it.
 
David Harris is an educator at the magical world of Computer Mentors, a non-profit. “I love that we are helping young men and women receive practical workshops on how to master working with PCs.  Each has a vision of their future, and that future looks bright”
 
On one evening recently, three teens all earned the highly valued “Microsoft Certified” status after passing a rigorous examination on a wide array of Microsoft software.  Certification is most typically earned by adults twice their age, and the educators at Computer Mentors are particularly proud of this crop of graduates.

Torrion Williams is working toward becoming a video game developer.  The 16-year-old attends Middletown High School and values education.  “It is important for me to learn new skills and I want to be better with computers,” said Torrion.  His hero is John Cena, WWE wrestler, rapper, and clothing design. “He never gives up.”  Cena’s diversified talents are estimated at more than $100 million. “He shows me that working hard and gaining new skills are important.”  Torrion believes that working hard and exploring all your talents are vital to success.

“Learning new skills gives me a chance,” said Kamren Jaylen Howell.  At 16, he knows that earning certification is a special achievement. The teen attends Tampa’s King High School.  “I am inspired by my grandfather who always works hard and does his best.”  He is working to some day be involved with the law “maybe as an attorney or in law enforcement.”  Kamren believes that success is make himself and those around him happy.

The youngest of the Terrific Trio is Dennis Thicklin, Jr.  At only 14, he is one of the youngest people to become Microsoft Certified.  He attends Terrace Community Middle School and is in the 8th grade.  “I am here to improve my computer knowledge,” offered Dennis. “I also want to tutor other students with my new skills.”  He admires Martin Luther King, Jr. and Dennis plans to rise above stereotypes to demonstrate his accomplishments.  “I’m going to be a CEO and designer of future video games.”

Computer Mentors provides opportunities for educational and employment success through bridging the technology divide for populations without sufficient economic resources, especially as it relates to children and youth.  Computer Mentors is committed to creating a society in which all have an equal opportunity to gain access to the tools that are required for quality employment and educational opportunities.

The non-profit began in 1998 and continues to focus on digital technology education of Tampa’s youth.  The organization dedicates resources to develop STEM educational opportunities for the teens and adults throughout the community — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

The instructors at Computer Mentors believe this group of teens best represents the organization’s goals and objects.  Executive Director and founder of Computer Mentors, Ralph Smith, said “these boys have done something no other group has accomplished here.  Four passed this difficult exam in one evening, each with different interests, ages, and schools.”  Ralph is extremely pleased with this milestone and can see a bright future for each of the students. “They are just at the beginning of their journey. Imagine their future in five years!”

It certainly appears that these hometown heroes won’t need capes to fly.

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