Black Excellence: 11-Year-Old Jamaican Boy Stuns Over 3,000 Others In Coding Competition

by Duke Magazine

Featuring at his first gaming competition, 11-year-old Jamaican Dominic Darby emerged as one of the 17 winners out of the more than 3,000 people who participated in the XPRIZE Connect Code Games competition in 2020. However, this was his first attempt at creating his own video game. In addition to his win in the junior division, he was named “Best in Class”.

The St. Catherine native also took home $1,000 after entering the California-based competition with 70 participants also from Jamaica. The more than 3,000 competitors were aged between 10 and 18 and the winners were announced at a virtual event held last month.

The competition was put together in partnership with video game developer E-Line Media and supported by Endless Network, which aims to enhance lives through technology.

Moreover, Darby is not a newbie when it comes to coding. The 11-year-old first encountered MIT’s Scratch coding software at the age of six after attending a summer program held at the University of West Indies, his mother Shellian Darby said. Also, his coding knowledge can be inferrred as largely self-taught from watching YouTube tutorials and reading books about coding which is practically one of his hobbies, Darby’s mother added.

For his winning game entitled “How To Fall”, Darby used the MIT Scratch coding software to create a game character that moves through multiple levels while getting away from obstacles, according to After months of trials and errors, Darby finished his first-ever game and entered the XPRIZE Connect Code Games: A Global Game-Making Challenge, facing off with pros and rookies alike.

The Wolmer’s Preparatory School student said he never expected to win. “When I realized I won, I felt good and I wanted to tell everyone, but I couldn’t at the time. This is my first time entering an international competition and to win it feels amazing,” he was quoted by The Gleaner. 

When he is not studying or coding, Darby, like every kid his age, enjoys playing video games particularly Roblox and Minecraft. He hopes to be a computer science engineer soon.

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