25 Atlanta students surprised with acceptance to Harvard program

There’s good news and then there’s great news. The great news comes with a knock on the door and confetti.

That's exactly what 25 Atlanta high school students got after six interviews and months of waiting.

They were accepted into the Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project, which trains young African American students from Atlanta in debate and critical thinking. After 10 weeks, they compete against hundreds of others at Harvard University.

Founder Brandon Fleming saw a lack of diversity in debate competitions at the Ivy League where is also the assistant debate coach.

“We had a lot of capable black young people, but educational equity is a real thing," Fleming said. "Anything that African American people have not accomplished is not due to ability. It’s due to access.”

Last weekend, the students thought they were on another interview call. Instead, Fleming was at their doorstep.

“I was tuned in on my phone as well, but they had no idea I was actually on my way to their homes.”

Twenty-one hours and 200 miles later, the students received what he calls a "magical moment."

“It’s euphoric. It’s what I live for. To see their faces light up the way they did and become so overcome with emotion. It’s why we do it," Fleming said.

Daya Brown was certainly overcome with emotion when she found out.

“I am still lost with words to explain how I feel," she said. “It still feels like a dream. I was not expecting it at all.”