MORRIS – A Morris Community High School student will return to class in the fall with the story of a silver medal he earned at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference.
Devin Ryan, who is starting his senior year at Morris High School and his second year at Grundy Area Vocational Center, competed in April at the Skills USA-Illinois competition where he took first place earning his way into the national competition in Kansas City, Missouri, in June, where he placed second in the nation in Computer Maintenance Technology.
“I woke up early on a Monday and drove seven hours to Kansas City to get to the actual competition,” he said. “That was probably the hardest part. I don’t normally wake up until 11 or 12 in the morning.”
After arriving, the competition went pretty much as he planned.
Ryan has been interested in computers since he was a small child. His mother, Pam Ryan, said he asked for his first computer when he was just 5.
“The first book he read was the Windows 98 installation manual,” his father Jerry Ryan said at Monday night’s Morris school board meeting, where Devin Ryan was honored for his accomplishment.
Principal Kelly Hussey said the district is proud of Devin Ryan’s accomplishment and told the board how rare it is to have a student go to nationals and place as high as he did.
As part of the competition, students take the A+ certification exam, an exam that carries a professional certification that the holder has competent knowledge of the subject. You must score 650 to pass the exam and get your certificate. The maximum score is 900. Devin Ryan received an 844 and 845 when he took the exam at the national competition, earning him the professional level certificate while still in high school.
“The exam typically costs hundreds of dollars to take, and I got to take it for free,” he said.
The second day of the competition Devin Ryan made his way through eight modules where he was allowed 30 minutes to complete each task, much like the state competition he did in April.
Modules included removing a virus, fixing a system that wouldn’t boot up, customer service and fixing a script error.
He said just like the initial state competition, the customer service portion was the most difficult for him.
“The customer service portion was the hardest. It’s the only modules where I scored lower than average,” Devin Ryan said. “The easiest one was the registry module. It was so simple I did it in seven minutes.”
All of the contests are run by and judged using industry standards for employment, according to a news release from SkillsUSA.
“They approached him after the competition and asked if he would be interested in judging in Illinois once he’s done competing,” his Pam Ryan said. “We’re very proud of him.”
Devin Ryan works as a developer for Minecraft Survival Games, a Minecraft mod server based in California, and said his job as a developer made some of the modules easier to get through.