Meet 13-year-old Melisa Deniz, a remarkable young coder who embarked on her coding journey at Code Ninjas Enfield just last year. In that short time, she has not only completed the rigorous nine-belt curriculum but has done so with unwavering dedication and a genuine passion for coding – earning her the esteemed black belt status. To the delight of her fellow coders and family, she is the first female in the UK to achieve this goal. Melisa’s journey was punctuated by several months of hard work and creativity, culminating in her final black belt project, ‘Snail Ninja Showdown’ – a testament to her newfound coding skills.
“I chose to start with Code Ninjas to increase my skills,” explained Melisa. “In the black belt programme, I embraced the opportunity to think creatively and turn my imaginative ideas into enjoyable games. Trying something new can be challenging, but it is also incredibly rewarding. If I was going to give advice to any other girls out there, especially those my age, thinking about coding but worrying it might not be for them, I would tell them to be confident in their abilities. Pursue your interests with passion and don’t be afraid to stand out. You can achieve remarkable things in any field – including technology and coding!”
Everything about Code Ninjas is built around fun, which keeps kids coming back. The curriculum is self-paced but not self-taught. Kids get immediate help and encouragement from Code Senseis and fellow Ninjas as they advance from white to black belt on the nine-belt programme that makes up Code Ninjas CREATE.
Renee Romeo, co-owner of Code Ninjas Enfield, is immensely proud of Melisa and how she is trailblazing for other girls in coding.
“We are over the moon for Melisa – she truly deserves the status she has achieved. Words can’t express how happy we for her and how proud we all are of her determination and positive attitude while working towards her black belt status. Melisa’s commitment serves as a shining example, and we hope that she’s just the first of many girls who will achieve the black belt status in Enfield.
Just six months ago we celebrated the first UK black belt coder – Ugur Recber, who has been a student with us since 2021 – so we’re extremely excited to recognise Melisa and all of her hard work,” said Renee.
At Code Ninjas, kids learn how to code in a safe, inclusive and social learning environment where gaming is celebrated and STEM is cool. Code Ninjas allows kids to dive into fun, challenging, and rewarding projects and activities that will engage them and bring out skill sets that will benefit them as they grow. Building the game at the end is an impressive feat and requires a lot of focus and effort to implement all that was learned in the previous eight belts.
“Melisa embodies everything that we stand for at Code Ninjas – commitment, creativity and passion,” explained Bill Marsland, Director of Education for Code Ninjas. “Earning your coding black belt at Code Ninjas takes dedication, perseverance, and skill, all of which Melisa has showcased remarkably by pioneering as the first female black belt Ninja in the UK. I’m immensely proud of Melisa’s accomplishments and the Code Ninjas Enfield team for breaking new ground, proving that coding isn’t a skill limited to boys. This remarkable achievement highlights the importance of encouraging girls to learn and excel in coding, and I eagerly anticipate the day when more Ninjas across the UK – both boys and girls – will follow Melisa’s accomplishments.”
Melisa’s black belt project, Snail Ninja Showdown, sees players surviving for as long as they can whilst using different weapons from the shop, all while trying to get a high score. You can play Melisa’s game here: https://forms.codeninjas.com/blackbeltninjas
To learn more about Code Ninjas Enfield, visit https://www.codeninjas.co.uk/enfield-london-uk