Boston Debate League

Alumnus Heads to London for Grad School

November 29, 2022 | By Sayyida Jean-Charles

BDL Alumnus Pursing Master’s Degree Overseas

Boston Debate League Alumnus Michael John is enrolled in the Department of International History to pursue a Master of Science in Empires, Colonialism and Globalisation at the London School of Economics and Political Science. The London School of Economics and Political Science is a public research university with the vision “to create a better world where a profound understanding of management drives positive change in business and society.”

John was awarded a 2-year full tuition scholarship through the Thouron Fellowship from his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Africana Studies. The Thouron Fellowship is a scholarship award available to UPenn seniors and alumni, who have demonstrated substantial academic achievements and community engagement and are interested in furthering their studies in the United Kingdom.

“Grad school was always a part of [his] plan and to go abroad…[he] wanted to study race and identity because those topics and issues are a part of [his] passion..” John discovered his passion during the six years he spent on Boston Latin Academy’s after-school debate team.

“You have to remember that fundamentally you can do these things, and you may be unsure, but you keep trying.”
– Michael John

“Debate was the first time [he] was introduced to critical theories and academic literature and that experience cultivated [his] interest in [his] studies.” What attracted him to the school’s debate team was finding individuals that were equally passionate about the same topics and interests. John thanks debate for giving him access to “conversations that [he] would not normally have…in high school.”

John reflected on how he felt as an active debater and he admitted that there were moments when he questioned his intelligence or his sense of belonging at certain tournaments. However, when he became a volunteer judge and watched rounds of debates, he was reminded that – yes debaters are smart and belong at every tournament. John advises current debaters to “trust the lessons you are learning and to remember the lessons you cultivated during this time are not just relevant to high school debate rounds; it is something that is going to impact you for the rest of your life, be confident and take it seriously.”