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25 black students from Atlanta surprised with scholarships to Harvard summer program 

School isn’t out yet. However, a few Atlanta students have already solidified their summer plans, because they’ve just been accepted into one of Harvard’s prestigious programs.  

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Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project, an Atlanta-based organization that aims to prepare African-American students for Harvard Debate Council’s residential summer session, recently held its inaugural Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project Surprise Reveal.

While the scholars thought they were coming to The Art Institute of Atlanta to complete interviews as a part of the application process, they were actually there to learn about their acceptance and scholarship contribution, which totaled $10,500. The goal is $88,000.

“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 Diversity Project, in a press release.

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From January to June, the students will be trained by Harvard instructors at The Art Institute of Atlanta to prepare for their studies at the prestigious institution. Once in Massachusetts, student participants will study debate and “gain academic excellence, leadership acumen, and cultural pride,” the organizers wrote. They will get a firsthand experience of residential life at Harvard and learn from accomplished debate professors and coaches.

“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."

» RELATED: Teen to get college diploma before graduating high school 

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