Many kids and young adults can probably tell you they have received grief from a parent or other adult for spending to much time on a computer. But Nikko Hayden has proven that those long, "lost" hours really can pay off.
Area 30 Career Center recently announced that Hayden, a computer systems networking student, placed first in the nation in the Technical Computer Applications Skills Contest at the National SkillsUSA competition in Kansas City, Mo.
"Most of my life, people told me that messing around on the computer was a waste of time," Hayden said. "I think it's worth it, and I'm proud of proving others wrong."
Of course, Hayden did more than just "mess around" on a computer. He was enrolled in Area 30's computer systems networking classes his junior and senior years, getting valuable experience and advice from instructor Zane Earles.
The contest took place over two full days, requiring students to take a written test, develop a business plan based on cloud computing, speak extemporaneously about a given topic for five minutes, configure several websites to specific settings requested by the contest and demonstrate installation, configuration and the use of Windows, Mac OSX and Linux Professional Operating Systems.
Or basically, in Nikko's words, "In a nutshell, the contest was dealing with anything software related or anything you might find on your computer screen."
"Area 30 Career Center is extremely proud of Nikko's accomplishments," said Area 30 Executive Director Lora Busch.
Hayden was awarded a laptop, 22-inch monitor and a headset for his first place finish.
The 2011 graduate of Greencastle High School is the son of Brian Hayden and Cindy Holzhausen. He will be attending Vincennes University to study computer networking and security this fall. He hopes to get a of a job in dealing with computer security.