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Ready, set, type

South Hagerstown High School business students put their keyboarding skills to the test in a competition Thursday

South Hagerstown High School business students put their keyboarding skills to the test in a competition Thursday

November 21, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

With fingers poised above the home keys of their computers' keyboards, 13 South Hagerstown High School business students stared down at computer screens that stared blankly back at them.

On business teacher JoAnne Knode's command, the students' fingers frantically jabbed at the keys. After a few minutes, only two of them, a beginning typist and an advanced typist, would lay claim to the coveted business education titles, "The Fastest Hands in the South."

Knode, who coined the contest's name, said she held the competition Thursday in conjunction with Business Education Month and American Education Week as a way to help increase student pride in taking keyboarding classes.

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"You never forget how to keyboard," she said.

Senior Adam Hockensmith, 17, won the advanced competition, timed at 5 minutes, by pounding out 66 words per minute.

"That's weak, too," he said, adding that a recent wrestling injury to his wrist may have slowed him down.

He said he types a lot of papers for his English class, which helped him prepare for the competition. With plans to go into law, Hockensmith said he expects his typing speed will increase over the course of his college career.

Hockensmith, who is enrolled in two business classes, and Junior Keli Dofflemyer, 16, who's enrolled in beginning keyboarding, took home first place prizes - two $20 gift certificates to the Valley Mall- for their speed at the keyboard.

Dofflemyer, who was timed at 3 minutes, typed 83 words per minute.

Knode said the typists weren't judged on the number of mistakes they made, but she will hold a similar typing competition in the spring that will be based on accuracy.

Dofflemyer, who works as an administrative assistant for state Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, said her work at his office over the summer helped to increase her typing speed.

She said she plans to major in medicine and minor in law at college.

"No matter what you do, it involves computers," she said.

Freshman Steven Mills, 14, who is enrolled in a beginning typing class, said he had been keyboarding for at least two years, mainly programming computers, playing video games and Instant Messaging his friends. He said he hopes to spend his career in front of a computer terminal doing much of the same thing.

"It's just a good start at my age," he said. "I hope to go far."

His hobbies have helped him to bring up his typing speed, which at its highest is at 106 words per minute.

Although Mills didn't take home the title, he wasn't very far behind.

"I could have done better," he said. "But I was just under pressure."

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