Las Vegas Students Win Worldwide Contest - 8 News NOW

Las Vegas Students Win Worldwide Contest

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The letter from Microsoft announcing the award. The letter from Microsoft announcing the award.

LAS VEGAS -- Four Las Vegas high school seniors are touting top honors as the first Americans to place first in a worldwide Microsoft competition.

With the Clark County School District facing more than $400 million in cuts, these Advanced Technologies Academy students say their success makes a strong case for lawmakers to leave technology alone. Compared to the average high school student, these students are anything but average.

Four friends, all tech fanatics conquer coding, design websites and create games such as Droid Assault. After working on it for 2 to 3 weeks, it was entered into Microsoft's Imagine Cup contest.

"We're like we have a pretty good shot , we already know the basics, and we can add our own little flair," said German Bernal, Advanced Technologies Academy senior.

Their hard work and confidence paid off when they were awarded the grand prize. A website they designed also won. They found out the good news online.

"We were really happy," said Christian Hood, senior student.

"Christian was like 'hey, you guys won a free Xbox, and I was like ok,'" said Marvin Pineda, senior student.

Aside from each student winning a new Xbox, two students went to Poland, where they proudly accepted their honor. They were the first Americans to do so. Christian Hood even met President Obama.

"I got to shake his hand, he told me to keep up the good work," said Hood.

Hood's mom credits his magnet school education at ATA.

"Having those opportunities they may not have at a regular school, getting lost in the sea of children," said Heather Brown, Hood's mother.

Their accomplishments are getting noticed and they hope to catch the attention of Governor Brian Sandoval.

"Our society is just expanding a lot. We rely on technology a lot more than we did a couple decades ago," said Eric Lo, senior student.

"They are our future, and if we keep eliminating technology then we will only be hurting ourselves as a nation," said Patrick McgGinness, computer science teacher.

"If they take away our tools, we have to work even harder to do this," said Bernal.

It's celebration now, but uncertainty for future students. Two of the students also won "Windows Phone 7's" and $8,000. Both bought computers and plan to put the rest away when they start computer science degrees at UNLV this fall

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