Dominic Damoah made history by being accepted into a university in Ghana at the tender age of 14, an accomplishment that was previously thought to be reserved for older, more accomplished learners.
Sharing his story with MyJoyOnline, Damoah recounted that he is the first of four children born to Ghanaian parents, Dr. Dominic Dalyngton Damoah and Florence Owiredua Dankwah, in 1998. He attended Sylvester Elementary in Berrien Springs, Michigan, until the family opted to return home in 2008.
He expressed that adjusting to a new educational system and leaving behind the comfort of the United States was an experience unlike any other. Finding a suitable school in Ghana led to him being accepted into a seventh-grade class at a school that didn’t have a sixth-grade at the time.
Damoah was admitted into the class after demonstrating his worth with some encouragement from the school administration. He soon started facing challenges. “I remember my first time in that school, I struggled. I had a lot of 9s. This was mainly because the US education system is completely different from the Ghanaian education system.
“From what I can say, the US education system rewards understanding, creative thinking, and putting things on your own terms, whilst the Ghanaian education system rewards your ability to recount and recall textbook definitions, or your ability to say things the exact same way they were said to you.”
He shared that he was paired with a classmate after his teacher realized he was lagging behind. He began to pick up after a while, and he even managed to pass his Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and gain admission to his second-choice school.
Damoah revealed that despite the difficulties he encountered, while he continued to adjust to the educational system in Ghana, he managed to find a treasure trove of books on software engineering that his father had left behind. He started going through them while waiting to start senior high school after passing his BECE. What initially started as a simple interest in Java, HTML, and PHP quickly transformed into a true enthusiasm for computer science.
“I spent my whole waiting period reading one book after the next. When I had difficulty understanding something, I asked my dad and I must say he was impressed and happy about my new found love,” said Damoah.
He disclosed that his father inspired him to enroll in the American High School Diploma program at Valley View University’s Department of Computer Science, where his father was teaching. It was a two-semester course, and he reasoned that he could still join his peers in high school on completion.
Even though he had doubts about his eligibility, he went ahead and took the opportunity. Damoah managed to come in second at the end of the first semester exams in a class of about 100 students, most of whom were much older than he was.
He continued to progress and finally gained full admission into Valley View University as a computer science major when he was 14, significantly skipping the secondary school journey. Damoah also committed himself to helping out his friends with his knowledge in the course and even taught them for free.
“I ended up graduating in 2016 at the age of 17 and a half, almost 18, with a CGPA of 3.96. I was the best Information Technology student,” he said.
Damoah started an educational technology company called Schrep® after completing his required national service demands, and he then worked at Stanbic Bank and Fidelity Bank.
Today, Damoah is pursuing a doctorate at Purdue University, intending to reach greater heights and make a meaningful contribution to his field of study.