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QTL for IT Educators > News > Article Summaries > Current Article

Arkansas youth named QTL's IT Student of the Year

May 10, 2004

A Corning High School student has been named ExplorNet/QTL's National IT Student of the Year. Cody McGrew won the honor as an external committee pored through numerous strong nominations. Another Arkansas student, Kyle Godbold of the Russellville Area Vo-Tech Center , placed second in the rankings. Jarrett Congleton of North Pitt High School in North Carolina ranked third in the national competition.

Cody McGrew
ExplorNet's National IT Student of the Year Cody McGrew competing in the Arkansas SkillsUSA event.

McGrew was nominated by his teacher, Jim Ermert, who says McGrew went "from being a novice user to lead tech on our CATS (Computer and Technology Services) team." Ermert says McGrew has been a leader in the classroom and very active in the community through technology projects. Some of those projects have been featured on ExplorNet's web site in the past. McGrew placed third in the Arkansas SkillsUSA Computer Repair competition. He has obtained A+ certification as well as Novell's CNA certification.

McGrew has had plenty of hands-on experience in Ermert's class. He and his classmates designed and implemented a computer network for their local police department, using computers donated through the ExplorNet program. He helped spearhead his school district's Norton Anti-virus upgrade after the district was hit hard by viruses. Ermert says McGrew took the initiative, did his research, and installed the program for the district. Then he led his fellow student admins on keeping the software updated and running on all servers and workstations -- approximately 400 of them! This year he followed that project with an anti-spam initiative.

"With the time donated to the school I have learned how a true network operates and how a business environment works," McGrew said in his nomination form. "With the skills I have learned in CET, I have built a good foundation on which to base my future career. With these skills I will be prepared to successfully enter the workforce."

Ermert says McGrew works 2-3 hours a day for the district for no pay. In addition, he has done networking, programming and web development jobs for the local newspaper, a video rental store, and the John Deere dealership. After work, he is active in Boy Scouts, pitches in at a local veterinarian's clinic, and has volunteered for projects including a food drive, Harvest Festival and July 4th celebration. He's president of the CATS club and active in other student organizations including National Honor Society, Spanish Club, FBLA, SkillsUSA, and FFA.

Ermert says McGrew is liked and respected by students and staff. "Cody is one of those unique students that teachers are so glad to see come into a classroom and at the end of the year are so sad to see go," he says. "He is a fine young man with impeccable character and very deserving of this honor."

As winner of the award, McGrew will receive a plaque plus a webcam donated by Computer Warehouse of North Carolina, as well as a bundle of academic materials and online line learning licenses from Element K.

Kyle Godbold received high praise from teacher David Lavergne, who says Godbold is A+ certified and able to take charge of the classroom anytime he's away. Godbold installed and maintains his school's computer lab, has refurbished and installed donated computers in nearby elementary schools, and takes care of all staff computers that aren't under warranty. "When I have questions, I go to him."

Jarrett Congleton of North Pitt High -- which was also honored as ExplorNet's IT School of the Year, was nominated by his teacher Lisa Sloan, who says Computer Engineering sparked an avid interest in school for him. "Jarrett was a student with a GPA below 2.0," she says. "However, he always maintained an "A" average in class. He has excelled in troubleshooting, and has repaired several computers for his mother's workplace and throughout the school. He is a model student in regards to discipline and soft skills and customer relations."

"CET I has taught me many things," Congleton says. "It taught me how to repair computers. It taught me how to build a new computer from scratch. It also taught me how to troubleshoot problems with computers. I plan to use all of this knowledge for the rest of my life."

"These are all the kind of students we like to hear about in our programs," says ExplorNet CEO Dave Boliek. "And there were so many others out there who are also deserving of recognition."

Competition for this year's award was intense. Students from ExplorNet programs in 10 states were eligible for consideration.


For more information, contact Robin Fred via e-mail at or call him at 888.507.3800.

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