Jayla Jackson and Emani Stanton have made history as the first-ever Black female duo to win the prestigious international debate competition at Harvard University. And they did it with an undefeated record.
The duo bested more than a hundred debaters from around the world despite the increasing difficulty in every round.
“We saw it more as a blessing and not a burden, and having that mindset allowed us to do so well,” Stanton told WSBTV.
Stanton and Jackson, who are ages 16 and 17, are students at North Atlanta High and Holy Innocents Episcopal. Both of them are members of the Harvard Diversity Project, which trains young debaters to compete internationally. The duo’s recent win secured the fourth consecutive win in the annual competition for their team, which has an undefeated 10-0 record.
The two young debaters dedicate their victory to each other, as well as the Harvard Diversity Project and its founder, award-winning debate coach Brandon P. Fleming.
Moreover, they said that debate has helped them build their confidence and change their outlook in life.
“I question everything, and doing that has allowed me to create unique and diverse perspectives about the world,” Jackson said.