A brilliant team of Black teens has recently won the Harvard Diversity Project’s International Debate Competition for the third consecutive year. What makes this even more astonishing is that it’s only the team’s third year competing as well.
What We Know:
- The Harvard Diversity Project’s Instagram stated both Madison Webb of Langston Hughes High School and Christian Flournoy of the Westminster School reeled in a victory and made history by being the first Black girl and the youngest Black boy to win this particular tournament. “During the final round, the judge panel declared their #3peat victory with a perfect 5-0 winning ballot.”
- According to Fox 5 News, Webb said that “It was a surprise acceptance, and once we were accepted, we went through a summer enrichment program and that August is when our year-round training began.”
- Harvard’s assistant debate coach, Brandon Fleming, was initially a college dropout but later went back to earn a bachelor’s at Liberty University. He then started the Atlanta program back in 2017 as an initiative for the school to promote educational equality for all.
- The program chooses about 25 Black youths each year from various area high schools. Fleming then rigorously trains the teens to compete against other gifted kids from around the globe.
- Roughly 400 students participate in the week-long tournament. Aside from the main events, the students are subjected to a 10-hour academic regimen with classes focused on research, analysis, argumentation, and political science, highly qualified professors and instructors lead all instruction.
- Due to the coronavirus pandemic this year, it forced both the competition and recruiting process to be done entirely online. The 2021 team has, in fact, already been selected for the next tournament, and they will begin their training in August.
A final note Webb wished to bestow upon all black kids around the world was that “despite all the racial stereotypes and no matter who or what tries to limit you, there’s always someone rooting for your success on the other side. And that for us was our community here in Atlanta.”