25 black Atlanta students competed in an annual debate competition this past week held by the Harvard Debate Council. The Great Debaters were among students from all over, including scholars from Asia, Russia, and other various parts of Europe. Thomas Jordan, of Grady High School, won first place out of the entire 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,” he 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,” Thomas said. “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.”
Thomas was not only one of the 25 Atlanta students, but one of 400 from around the world who descended onto Harvard’s campus. The students underwent a daily 10-hour academic regimen, learning from highly accomplished debate professors and instructors who engaged them through rigorous curricula centered on research, analysis, argumentation and political science.
Congrats to the young students!
source – 11alive