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ACT-SO Achievement Program

Pursue your creative talents and academic dreams with purpose and unrestricted passion.

Girl singing in ACT-SO competition

Explore your passions

Each year, high school students across the country start a journey to sharpen their skills through the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO). From visual arts and business to performing and culinary arts, participants work with community-based volunteers for a year to develop projects and performances. The experience culminates in local and national events where students compete for scholarships and other rewards.

Young Black Male Painting Wall with Group

Get with the program

  • August: Local programs, hosted by NAACP units, kick-off annual ACT-SO activities.

  • September-March: Local programs conduct mentoring and scholastic enrichment activities.

  • April: Local programs host ACT-SO competitions. Gold medalists (those with scores between 95-100 in their category) are invited to compete on a national level.

  • April-July: Students continue their local mentorship and enrichment programs to prepare for the national competition.

  • July: Winners from the local competitions compete at the National Competition and Ceremonies, held every July in conjunction with the NAACP National Convention.

ACT-SO Impact

NEXTGEN cohort

I can't think of any other program that has played a bigger part in preparing me for my future the way ACT-SO has.  

- Taylor C. 2018-20 ACT-SO alumni, East St. Louis. Categories: Drawing, Entrepreneurship, Filmmaking and Original Essay

An enduring legacy of Black excellence

ACT-SO aims to:

  • Recognize creative talent and academic achievement in the next generation of leaders.

  • Provide and assist students with the necessary skills to establish goals and acquire the confidence and training to make a successful contribution to society.

  • Mobilize adults to promote academic and artistic excellence.

 

 

Young Black Female in Group Clapping

Who's eligible?

To participate in ACT-SO you must be:

  • Of African American descent.

  • A citizen of the United States or hold a permanent resident visa card.

  • Enrolled in grades 9-12 at the time of application.

  • An amateur (having not received wages for professional services) in the categories of competition.

Participants in the annual national ACT-SO competition are chosen from the local competitions.

Get involved

ACT-SO takes a village. Local branches, volunteers, and sponsors ensure a fulfilling experience for young participants. Check with your local NAACP branch or contact us for more information to support ACT-SO.

Phone: (410) 580-5650
Email: actso@naacpnet.org

NAACP ACT-SO has produced top African-American high school talent for more than 40 years. Take a look at our students at the national competition in Detroit.
Teal Scribble

Alumni, stand up!

Are you an alumni of ACT-SO? We want to hear your story!  

Get in touch

ACT-SO is synonymous with success. It is my sincerest hope that every ACT-SO participant takes risks in the safe, creative, and nurturing space ACT-SO provides. Chart your course. Share your story. Change the world.  

- Larry Brown, Jr. National Director, NAACP ACT-SO
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