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African-American Youth Jordan Thomas Wins Harvard Debate Competition

Photos via: Harvard Diversity Project

Everyone just needs a boost to show what they are capable. Given a platform to shine, usually marginalised men and women would shine and show they are as good as their privileged counterparts as shown two weeks by Jordan Thomas.

It all started when 25 Atlanta students from the city’s Harvard Diversity Project, were sent to Harvard University for its Debate Council’s summer residential program and oh did they seize the opportunity.

The young scholars, picked from 150 applicants and representing 16 metro Atlanta schools, gave a good account of themselves. Competing against students from all over the world in a debate tournament, the most of the students made it through stage of the competition.


According to 11 Alive News, “Throughout the competition, ten of the 12 Atlanta teams advanced to the octo-finals, six went on to the quarter-finals while two teams competed in the semi-finals.”

The final, which held July 14, was all about Jordan Thomas of Atlanta’s Grady High School though as he ended up taking home first place for the whole single-elimination tournament.

“Being a young, middle class, Black, public school student from the South created a stigma that automatically set me back in comparison to the competition, most of who were international students or from predatory schools in the Northeast,” Thomas said.

“I was determined to represent my city and my story. I wanted people to see where I came from and how I could keep up with them. “To bring the championship back to Atlanta was the most satisfying feeling, and to walk onto the campus of one of the most elite universities in the world and meet personal and council goals, brings a unique and new satisfaction that I’ve never experienced,” he added.

During the programme, the students participated in a 10-hour academic regimen and learned about analysis, research, argumentation, and political science from top debate professors and instructors.

According to its website, the Harvard Debate Diversity Council Project is “an Atlanta-based pipeline program that recruits, trains, and feeds minority youth into the Harvard Debate Council’s summer residential program at Harvard College.”

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