What is ACT-SO ?

The Afro Academic Cultural Technological Scientific Olympics (ACTSO) is the national major youth initiative of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), administered through participating NAACP branches.

Founded for youth of African descent, ACTSO provides a forum through which the students demonstrate academic, artistic and scientific prowess and expertise, thereby gaining the same recognition often only reserved for entertainers and athletes. ACTSO is rooted in the firm conviction that all students can succeed and compete at the same or superior levels as their counterparts in classrooms, boardrooms and laboratories across this nation and abroad. Students can select up to three competitions from a total of 32 offerings in STEM, Business, Humanities, Performing Arts Visual Arts, and Culinary Arts. For almost forty years, the mission of ACTSO has been to prepare, recognize and reward youth of African descent who exemplify scholastic and artistic excellence. The goals of ACTSO are: To mobilize the adult community for the promotion of academic and artistic excellence. • To recognize creative talent and academic achievement. • To provide and assist students with the necessary skills to establish goals and acquire the confidence and training to make a successful contribution to society.

ACTSO immediately projects a positive holistic image of students of African and Latino descent.  Pennsylvania ACTSO programs have served hundreds of students over the years.

ACTSO is a yearlong program where students are recruited, coached and prepared for the local ACTS competition. In April of every year, students compete in the local ACTSO competition where their projects are presented and judged by professionals in the subject category, using strict preset criteria. The top performer in each subject category that achieves a minimum score of 95 receives a gold medal in accordance with preset scoring criteria.

Gold medalists are then taken to the Annual NAACP National ACTSO Competition to compete against the best and brightest from branches all over the country. There they have the opportunity to receive further recognition prizes and educational opportunity.

Since 1999 the Greater Harrisburg Area NAACP ACTSO Program has served hundreds of high students.

Thus far, all ACTSO seniors have graduated from high school and the overwhelming majority has gone on to attend college or pursue vocational careers.

The Challenge

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.

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