It all computes for West Cork’s talented young coders

A thriving West Cork CoderDojo group has plenty to boast about.

It all computes for West Cork’s talented young coders

Two young members have made it through to the finals of a prestigious national competition, and it’s about to celebrate a landmark fifth birthday.

Sabine Cullinane, 12, a mentor at the CoderDojo Clonakilty’s Girls’ Table, and her 10-year-old clubmate Darragh Walsh made it into the finals of the prestigious National Scratch competition finals — Darragh with his animated car game Dodgycars and Sabine with a story-telling animation.

The talented duo were initially selected to go forward from a total of 545 entries.

Club co-ordinator Margaret Kennedy said of Darragh’s game: “There is a lot of animation and coding involved— this is quite a sophisticated game which required a lot of skill for someone Darragh’s age. It is very colourful and is also quite a challenging game.

“Sabine, meanwhile, created a story using Scratch technology to create animation and graphics that she designed and created herself.”

The pair, who have been members of CoderDojo Clonakilty for several years, will be among 30 competitors vying for the prize at the finals of the popular coding competition, which takes place on Wednesday, April 26, in Limerick.

A major focus of CoderDojo Clonakilty, said Ms Kennedy, was to encourage more girls to join.

And they now made up about 30% of the 50-plus membership which she said, was a considerable improvement.

“Our girl members are coming very regularly and are very interested in the club,” said Ms Kennedy.

“We find that when the girls work together there is a different flow of creativity.

“Girls are very strong on design and animation and bring a different style to the table — it’s great. The Girls’ Table is a very active table.”

Meanwhile, the local girls’ primary school, St Joseph’s, now had its own CoderDojo club which ran in parallel with an existing club in the boys’ school, Scoil na mBuachaillí.

Members from each of the school-based clubs were part of CoderDojo Clonakilty whose continued success, Ms Kennedy pointed out, was evident in the fact that, last year, it put forward three finalists to Scratch, as well as two this year.

The club will celebrate its fifth birthday on May 5 with a highly anticipated annual expo of the work of its young coders.

“Children will get to demonstrate their skill to families, friends, and special guests,” Ms Kennedy said.

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