Saturday morning at 8am on WCLK's The Local Take I speak with Brandon Fleming founder of the Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project. I speak with Fleming and two students from his program Keith Harris of Westlake High School and Trinity Franklin of Mays High School. The students share how being participants in the Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project has open their eyes and desire. Both speak about being not only leaders but world changers and this belief came from the program. They speak about the 10-month training program that constantly encourages them to dream bigger.
I ask Fleming how his program, which shocked the nation last year when their group of black teens won the prestigious Harvard Debate Council, beating out over 400 debaters from around the world, is successful when other educational programs are still lagging. He explains that teachers have to care.
Fleming who grew up thinking sports or factory work were his only career options, dropped out of college after a sports injury, and went to work in a factory. There workers encouraged him to finish his education. His return to college came with a new found respect for education. The movie The Great Debaters caused Fleming to learn more about debate and the opportunities that are available to young people who can debate.
The Harvard Debate Diversity Council was born from the success of his first foray with the S. Y. Scholars Program. This program exposed young people to debate and grew to include symposiums and travel to colleges and universities. He began teaching with the Ron Clark Academy and launched the RCA Debate team which had an undefeated high school record. Harvard came calling and he joined their Summer Faculty for the Harvard Debate Council.
The Harvard Debate Diversity Council is currently accepting applications for their 10-month program. Any interested rising 8th - 11th graders are encouraged to apply.
For more information on the Harvard Debate Diversity Council
For more infomation on Brandon Fleming