What is ACT-SO ?
The mission of NAACP Harrisburg Academic, Cultural, Technological, & Scientific Olympics (NAACP NYC ACT-SO) is to overcome the vicious cycle of low scholastic expectations and achievement that plagues Black underserved minority youth throughout Harrisburg; to strengthen Black high school students’ academic skills and inspire the confidence they will need to succeed as adults; and, to offer individualized academic mentorship and diverse enrichment activities, of which there is short supply in the Harrisburg public high schools.
Established in Chicago in 1977 and implemented citywide in New York City in 1987, ACT-SO is a non-profit program operating under the administrative aegis of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The Harrisburg, PA ACT-SO program has two major components—regularly scheduled enrichment workshops and the “Olympics of the Mind” competition and ceremony. During the workshops, which are held during the academic year, volunteer coaches work with students on projects and assignments designed to enhance the students’ knowledge and skills in the Sciences, Arts and Humanities. Additional components of the workshops are seminars and trips designed to introduce students to their cultural heritage and other workshops to prepare them for college and employment. The program culminates with the “Olympics of the Mind” competition and awards ceremony which give the students an opportunity to showcase their projects and to be recognized for their achievements.
The goal of Harrisburg ACT-SO is to encourage earnest effort so students gain the confidence and skills they will need to thrive as adults. Our primary goal is to continue and expand not only the number of students we service at the high school level, but to more aggressively reach out to 8th grade students to introduce them to the rewards of academic and artistic endeavors.
ACT-SO is more than an academic program for high schools students where only a select few display their abilities. ACT-SO is an attempt to thwart the vicious cycle of low expectation and low scholastic achievement that is plaguing communities throughout the nation. In order to achieve our goals, we need to obtain the financial support of all civic-minded individuals and corporations.
Why Support ACT-SO
African-Americans and Latinos represent over 70 percent of all students attending Harrisburg public schools. America’s competitiveness and economic stability in the 21st century depends upon improving the quality of education and employment potential for the broadest possible spectrum of this population. Today’s investment in the African-American and Latino high school students of Harrisburg is an investment in the future long term success of Harrisburg’s corporate and small business communities. Harrisburg ACT-SO has made a difference by providing a positive environment for African-American and Latino youth. The impact is evident among the former participants in the form of their achievements, enthusiasm, increased confidence and vision for success. A review of past Harrisburg ACT-SO activities indicates that approximately 100 percent of all participants completed high school, and approximately 90 percent of all local medalists entered college while the others pursued vocational careers.