Group of Atlanta High School Students Admitted Into Harvard Debate Program

Twenty-six students were filled with joy after learning they were accepted into the Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project.

“Words really can’t describe the feeling after I heard that I was accepted into the Diversity Project,” Trinity Franklin, a junior at Benjamin E. Mays High School told Metro Black Atlanta. “I accomplished a big milestone in my life for myself and my mother. When I was crying, they were tears of joy because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Brandon Flemings

(photo credit: Metro Black)

The group of high school students were invited to a surprise acceptance announcement at The Art Institute of Atlanta on Sept. 23 which they assumed was the final interview process. However, after advancing through a challenging vetting process, the kids soon learned they’d been admitted into the HDCDP.

The founder of the debate program and Harvard University’s Assistant Debate Coach Brandon Fleming told the news source that all 26 students were in for a big surprised on Sunday. Each student was instructed to wear a Harvard sweatshirt and to act as a Harvard ambassador.

“They were then tasked to give an impromptu speech persuading the panel of judges why a student should choose Harvard as their number one college choice,” said Fleming.

Board members were pretending to interview the students’ parents as they were positioning to capture the exciting moment on camera.

“The room went completely dark and a video began to play on the screen,” said the HDCDP Board President Dani Ayers. “The faces of each student appeared, followed by a congratulatory image announcing the 26 students as the Class of 2019. It was electric—with a confetti shower, tears of joy and shrills of excitement and astonishment from the students and their parents.”

The 26 students were chosen out hundreds of students to be accepted into the Diversity Program. The group are the second class of HDCDP and will spend 10 months at Harvard University for their Harvard Debate Council summer residency.

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