Skip to content

Video: 26 Black Atlanta Students Get Surprise Acceptance Into The Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project

Video: 26 Black Atlanta Students Get Surprise Acceptance Into The Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project

All photos via: Harvard Diversity Project  

Imagine entering a room thinking that you're about to do a final interview for a chance to join the Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project's next class of great debaters. Then finding out that you've already been accepted into the program. Well, that's exactly what happened to a group of 26 Black students from Atlanta. 

“As a final challenge, each student entered a room was donned in a Harvard sweatshirt and instructed to pretend that they were a Harvard ambassador," Metro Atlanta Black reports Brandon Fleming ( the assistant Debate Coach at Harvard University and founder of the HDCDP) saying. 

"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. Concurrently, parents were being interviewed by board members—a strategic ploy to assemble the families for the big surprise."

Little did the students know, when they gathered for a group photo, they'd be in for a sweet surprise.

Watch the surprise acceptance announcement below. 

"It was such a powerful moment,” said HDCDP Board President Dani Ayers. “As proud, yet anxious, parents positioned themselves to capture the moment on their cameras, the room went completely dark and a video began to play on the screen. 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." 

Earlier this year, the Harvard Diversity Project's inaugural class won big at Harvard's debate tournament after spending two weeks at the university learning analysis, research, argumentation, and political science from top debate professors and instructors. 

According to its website, the Harvard Debate Council Diversity 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." 

Congratulations to the Harvard Diversity Project's second class of Atlanta Great Debaters!