Two Atlanta teenagers made history as the first Black girl duo to to win Harvard’s International international debate competition against over one hundred debaters from around the world. Jayla Jackson who is 16-years old, and a rising junior at Holy Innocents Episcopal School; and 17-year-old Emani Stanton who is a rising senior at North Atlanta High School, both represented the Harvard Debate Council Diversity Projcet. In an Instagram post, the organization shared the news with their followers.
“We did it AGAIN! Our 4th consecutive championship win was brought home to Atlanta by Jayla & Emani with an #UNDEFEATED record as they became the FIRST EVER Black girl duo to win Harvard’s international debate competition against over one hundred debaters from around the world. They have shown the world what’s possible when the playing field is leveled!”
According to Black Enterprise, the two teenagers took the grand prize in the debate of “Resolved: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization should substantially increase its defense commitments in the Baltic States,”
“Here is a glimpse of Emani & Jayla live and in action during a classroom debate on whether NCAA athletes should be paid.”
This isn’t the first time the organization one the championship, the group reportedly has won the title 4 consecutive years, making them undefeated. The Atlanta program recruits and trains Black students for a summer debate residency at Harvard, putting them in position for scholarships to elite schools. In an interview with Fox 5, the organizations debate coach and program founder Brandon Fleming said
“I told them that I wanted to build a bridge and provide an opportunity for black students to learn at Harvard in the summer,”
The project is highly competitve, bringing in thousands of student applications each year, and only selectiong 25-30.
The new team leaders have reportedly already been chosen and will begin training in August.