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.
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.
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.
The NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) is a yearlong achievement program designed to recruit, stimulate, and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among African-American high school students.
“Olympics of the Mind”
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