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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
ACT-SO Masterclass

ACT-SO Masterclass: Pursuing Purpose with Passion

Learn tools for personal and professional success across all disciplines. 

Trey Brown

ACT-SO Masterclass: Marketing & Sustainable Growth

Trey Brown, a 15-year-old entrepreneur, shares his keys to success during this masterclass on Marketing & Sustainable Growth.

Presented by McDonald's Black & Positively Golden

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.




  • August 2021: Local programs kick-off annual ACT-SO activities
  • March 2022: Local programs conduct mentoring and scholastic enrichment activities
  • April 2022: Local programs host ACT-SO competitions
  • April-July 2022: Students continue their local mentorship and enrichment programs to prepare for the National Competition.
  • July 2022: Annual activities culminate with the National Competition and Ceremonies

Frequently Asked Questions

All you need to know about the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics program.

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

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