Two American boys with African heritage make history inHarvard Harvard debate competition.
The Atlanta area high school students led their debate team to clinch a second consecutive win at Harvard’s annual debate tournament. According to a report on the matter, such a feat has never been achieved in the history of the competition.
Seniors Keith Harris of Westlake High School and DJ Roman of North Atlanta High School, interestingly had no debating experience but came out on top against scholars from 15 different countries. Guided by Brandon P Fleming, in preparations which lasted 10 months, the team was able to achieve the unprecedented.
Fleming, Harvard’s assistant debate coach was named as a 2019 Black Enterprise BE Modern Man in recognition of his work with the Harvard Diversity Project (HDP). HDP, is a nationally applauded pipeline project that recruits black youths in Metro Atlanta to train and join Harvard’s summer residency on full scholarships.
“Many of our students have never been exposed to the power of academic debate,” said Fleming in a press release. At some point, they will have to compete with hundreds of scholars who have years of debate experience; plus the advantage of private and prep schools, it is only normal to try leveling the field by exposing out students to higher level academic disciplines that are cannot be easily realized in traditional school setting, he added.
“This is the moment that we have worked so hard for,” DJ says. Our accomplishment is far bigger than us, he adds. DJ believes black people can achieve great things if they are given equal access, exposure and opportunities. This win, he says is for “our ancestors, our city and most importantly, our culture.
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