Warrior Emani Stanton Takes Dubs at Harvard Debate Competition


Dennis Racket

Debating Dubs: Senior Emani Stanton has conquered debate and won first place at the Harvard International Debate Competition. She is a role model to all, showing that hard work and dedication can lead to great things.

What did you choose to do with your summer this year? Some Dubs chose to chill at home with their friends and family, occasionally enjoying a week at the beach or having a blast at camp. But other Dubs chose to use this summer as a time to grind. One of the latter was Emani Stanton, a senior at North Atlanta. Working alongside Jayla Jackson, a Holy Innocents scholar, the duo took home first place at the Harvard International Debate Competition, becoming the first black girl duo to do so. Not only did they win the competition, they did so in impressive fashion, remaining undefeated through ten rounds of intense competition and dashing other countries’ goals of reigning victorious.
Stanton wasn’t originally interested in debate until she met Chloe Woods, a North Atlanta alumnus. Woods offered some helpful advice, telling Stanton to apply for the Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project—an Atlanta-based program that recruits black youth to a summer debate residency at Harvard—that would grant her opportunities and experiences beyond her wildest dreams. Readily agreeing with Woods’ recommendations, Stanton applied to the program. “I didn’t even really know how to debate,” Stanton said. “I actually turned out to be pretty good at it.”
The topic that ultimately won the duo their prize was this: “Resolved: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization should substantially increase its defense commitments in the Baltic States.” You read that right—their final debate was on foreign policy implications of NATO’s strategic defense positions. Sounds complicated to most, but to Stanton and Jackson, it was no problem! They handled the topic (and their competition) with ease.
Debate has changed Stanton’s worldview significantly. She says she has learned how to communicate effectively, think critically in order to form opinions, and use evidence to support her arguments. “Making international strides for my community is an achievement that extends far beyond myself, and I am just beyond grateful for my teachers, cohort members, and the Harvard Diversity Project for helping me get there,” Stanton said.
North Atlanta is very proud to call this dedicated Dub our own. Stanton’s ventures in life will doubtless be impressive, but Stanton hopes that she is only one of many who will be achieving greatness. For young black girls who dream as big as Stanton, she has some words of wisdom for you: “The most influential life change you can make is to use your voice. You could be the most brilliant student, artist, writer, or any other talent, but if you don’t share it with the world, no one will ever know.”