Jephtah Opoku plans to take his hobby for coding and computer science from weekend seminars and projects with friends to higher education after graduating Wednesday from Bel Air High School.
Opoku, 19, will be attending Towson University to study computer science, but that will not be his first experience with programming. Outside of school, with a friend who attends university in Ghana, he has been working on a website to connect consumers with local farmers to help sell their crops directly to people who want them, cutting down on costs of transporting produce and preserving its quality.
While the user interface needs some more work, Opoku hopes to refine it over the summer for the purpose of doing good, which was the thrust of his interest in technology to begin with.
“Technology on its own is like the most realistic thing to what we know as magic,” he said. “Being able to create something that will influence other people in a positive manner ... is the way to go.”
Coming from Ghana in 2019, Opoku was a full time Bel Air High School student this past year, but also took two to three classes a semester at Harford Community College to meet graduation requirements. Going forward, he said he will miss the people at the school — teachers and students alike, who were supportive of him.
What Opoku looks forward to the most is being useful — not in the sense of simply accomplishing a goal, but of making a difference. He said he wants to have a real impact that will make others’ lives better, or “doing what you have to do at the right time.”
Though COVID has been difficult for many students, Opoku said it had some upsides. He described himself as a fast learner, and was able to complete assignments quickly after he grasped the fundamentals this past year. That gave him time to pursue other things, like computer science.
While he did not take any computer science classes in high school, after this past year, he decided to pursue it as a career.
Though virtual learning is not for everyone, Opoku said his last year of high school was a very good year for him. And his father Rockson Opoku said he could not be more proud of his son’s diligence and motivation.
“His positiveness and dedication toward whatever he does, I think I am proud of that aspect of him, being that he had to migrate here to complete his education, and the achievement that came out of it for him really makes me a proud dad,” he said. “I can’t ask for more; that is a good kid right there.”