High School Freshman Amazes College Professors
Story by Ron Mills
"When he was 7 years old, he was able to master certain computer applications, and his gift started to develop from there,” states Yanic Hardie, regarding her son Darius. And thus began the amazing odyssey of Takoma Academy (TA) Freshmen Darius Hardie and the amazing gift of mastering information technology that God has bestowed upon Him.
Recognizing that their child had a unique gift, but not sure of what to do, Darius’ parents enrolled him in the Python computer course at the University of Maryland. He received an A+. Neither the students nor the professor realized that Darius was only 12 years old.
His college professor says that Darius, “... was a real standout ... consistently understood the material and was often the person others in the class came to for help.” Since that time, Darius had mastered several coding and programming languages, including Java, HTML and LISP.
As a member of NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers), he, along with fellow TA members, attended the private viewing of the true story Hidden Figures, where he met the cast members and then-First Lady Michelle Obama.
He also attended the national NSBE Career Fair convention in Kansas City, Mo., that featured some of the nation’s leading corporations, such as Google, YouTube and Goldman Sachs. Darius was part of the Ten80 Racing Team, a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) initiative.
Northrup Grumman is currently sponsoring Darius in constructing an Aquaponic system. The system will enable vegetables to grow in urban areas. Darius is learning how to write code so that the system can interactively water and feed the vegetables nutrients and to make soil pumps and racks move automatically, based on pH levels in water and other environmental conditions.
Darius’ ultimate career goal is to be a white hat hacker—an ethical, computer security specialist. Companies such as Google and Facebook hire white hat hackers to protect themselves against black hat hackers, those who try to breach internet security.
Despite his love for computers, Darius’ favorite subject at TA is Bible class, taught by Dunbar Henri, department chair. “I always learn something new that enables me to connect with God and gain a better relationship with Him,” says Darius.
Darius was recently one of 30 students nationwide to be accepted into the Cyber Security Defense summer program at the University of Maryland Cyber Security Center. This year he is the youngest student to be admitted into the program.
(Photo: Freshman Darius Hardie was accepted into the Cyber Security Defense summer program at the University of Maryland Cyber Security Center.)