This past Sunday, Harvard Debate Council held its inaugural Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project Surprise Reveal where 25 black high school students were awarded scholarship money to join Harvard’s prestigious residential summer program.

According to Rolling Out, Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project is an Atlanta-based diversity pipeline program created to raise the young social and political voice in urban Atlanta. The hope of the program is to bring African American students into the Harvard Debate Council’s residential summer program for high school students at Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The students who were accepted were pleasantly surprised as they initially thought they were coming for an interview as apart of the process of gaining acceptance. Instead, they were surprised with not only news of their acceptance, but of their scholarship. 

“The 25 students we selected were surprised with the news of their acceptance and were rewarded with scholarship money from The Art Institute of Atlanta to attend Harvard Debate Council’s residential summer program at Harvard College,” said Brandon Fleming, the executive director of the Harvard Debate Council.

The list of those students awarded include:

  • Olivia Justice
  • Tyler Simon
  • Ahmari Whitehead
  • Ralston Welch
  • Tiera Prince
  • Mayay Hadley
  • Saxton Phillips
  • Jordan Thomas
  • Jamilla Badji
  • Evanne Casimir
  • Sa’Mya Ivy
  • Allison McInnis
  • Audrey McNeal
  • Ann-Marie Abunyewa
  • Adetomi Oderinde
  • Niles Boyd
  • Payton Gunner
  • Jada Sweeting
  • Amari Manning
  • Osazi Al Khaliq
  • Sherrod Crum
  • Tyra Grant
  • Olivia Green
  • William Mosley
  • Matthew O’Stricker
  • Mahlon West

Students are scheduled to receive intensive training between January and June 2018 by Harvard instructors in preparation to study at Harvard college during the summer. The Art Institute of Atlanta has offered its facility as the program’s headquarters where training sessions will be held.

“We know that education, in all its forms, is a transformative force for the common good. We also know that it does start with a dialogue that uplifts, energizes, motivates, and enables young adults to embark on a path that will lead them to achieve their dreams,” says Newton Myvett, president of the Art Institute of Atlanta. “We are unleashing creativity, empowering people, and impacting the places where we live, love, and learn in unprecedented ways—giving shape to the boldest dreams and noblest causes.”

In addition to its facilities, the Art Institute also contributed $10,500 towards the inaugural class of 2018.

Congrats to these amazing and bright students for starting the year off with a little black excellence. We're all rooting for you!

Photo: Survivor ORG wiki