Madison Webb is the first Black female student and Christian Flournoy is the youngest Black male student to win the competition.
For the third year in a row, a team of African American students known as The Atlanta Great Debaters, defended and won the championship title for the international Harvard debate competition. Held virtually this year because of COVID-19, they competed against students from more than 25 countries.
According to 11 Alive, the entire team is being recognized for doing “an awesome job,” but senior Madison Webb, the first Black female student, and sophomore Christian Flournoy, the youngest Black male student, secured the victory.
Every year, Harvard Diversity Project recruits a cohort of talented Black youth out of an applicant pool of hundreds throughout Metro Atlanta. The program seeks students that have never been exposed to academic debate.
On Saturdays, students undergo a rigorous 10-month training regimen, where they are introduced to debate through the exploration of academic disciplines that foster critical thinking, public speaking, and argumentation.
The program normally culminates with a summer residency at Harvard College, where students study academic debate alongside and compete against hundreds of gifted scholars from around the world. However, this year, it was all done online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The end goal of the Harvard Diversity Project (HarvardDCDP.org) is to promote educational equity by creating opportunities for underserved youth to gain exposure and access to academic training that will distinguish them as top candidates in the college admissions process.