Junior Dakota Fields Steps into the Harvard Spotlight


Erica Grove

Kindness and Gratitude: Junior Dakota Fields hopes to spread her message of kindness to her peers

High school is known for opening doors towards great opportunities for wonderful students who’ve put strong efforts into their education. North Atlanta is no different, and Junior Dakota Fields is one such student who has taken on the initiative to become a member of the Harvard Diversity Debate Council.

As a member of the debate council, Fields has to go through months of training to prepare for debates. Not only will this give Fields the opportunity to stay at the Harvard campus during the debate period but it also opens doors to amazing scholarships at schools like Spelman after she graduates. Fields was encouraged to apply for the program by a friend and former HDCDP student, and is excited to see where the opportunity will take her. “I never imagined getting selected as a young scholar,” said Fields, “but I am so glad that I took the chance and applied.”

The debate council is a place where scholarship meets culture. It’s a safe place for young black scholars to grow and make change. Since Atlanta was ranked as the highest in the country as the most unequal city in the United States, this program was created to reach the black youth in Metro Atlanta and give them opportunities to close this gap. The members meet every Saturday and discuss a wide range of topics, where they can learn and engage with each other as they share diverse perspectives on relevant issues. When they’re done with their cohort year, they go to Harvard University in Cambridge and debate with other scholars from around the world. In the last three years, the Atlanta team has won against their competitors at the International Debate Competition. “This journey so far has been life changing,” said Fields, “Never in my life until now have I been able to see an environment of young black intellectuals in a room created for our development.” 

At school, Fields knows how to show her Warrior spirit, and is involved in a lot of different school activities. When she’s not at meeting training for next year’s debate tournament, she’s busy practicing for Orchestra, being the Vice President of the Poetry Club, and even mentoring black youth. She spends her free time tutoring other kids, studying, and also working on her own personal development. Fields was bullied in 5th grade which led her to become very shy in middle school. “Luckily, Mr. Paylor And Mr. Smith from Sutton Middle School helped me find myself, and become a social butterfly,” said Fields, “Without them I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Fields is on her way to do great things and make an impact no matter where she goes or what she does in life. “For any kid reading this, I want you to know that you are beautiful. You are a star, and you already have the light to make the world shine,” said Fields.