NAACP ACT-SO celebrates 40th anniversary and opens convention week
BALTIMORE – This year the NAACP’s ACT-SO (Academic, Cultural, Technical and Scientific Olympics) celebrates 40 years. Many of today’s notable African Americans are ACT-SO alum, including: Blackish star Anthony Anderson, R&B songstresses Lauryn Hill, Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys; American Actress and Facebook’s Red Table Talk host, Jada Pinkett-Smith; and Emmy Nominated American Actor Cornelius Smith Jr. just to name a few.
ACT-SO is a yearlong achievement program designed to recruit, stimulate, and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among African American high school students. With over 32 competitions in STEM, humanities, business and performing arts, the most anticipated moment of the year centers around the finals competition and awards ceremony happening in San Antonio at the 109th National Convention July 12–15. Over 700 of the nation’s top students will compete for a chance to win Apple iPads and NAACP ACT-SO scholarships during the 40th annual competition themed ACT-SO: Discover. Believe. Manifest.
“This is a very exciting year for ACT-SO,” said Larry Brown Jr., ACT-SO National Director, “This year marks 40 years of celebrating Black excellence in our youth. For 40 years, ACT-SO has allowed high school students to show the world they are talented, gifted and breaking barriers with no hesitation. These students are discovering their gifts, believing in themselves to walk in their talents and watching their dreams manifest right before their eyes.”
A major highlight of the ACT-SO program will be the ACT-SO Film Festival taking place on Saturday, July 14th at the AMC Rivercenter. Competitors in the film making category will be able to see their short film on the big screen. A convention or ACT-SO badge is needed for access to this event.
On July 14, the ACT-SO participants will participate in the #BrandU Session – an opportunity for students to learn what it means to create and cultivate a brand of their own. Natalie Cofield, CEO & Founder of Walker’s Legacy a global platform for the professional and entrepreneurial multicultural woman will give the keynote address.
ACT-SO registration begins on Thursday, July 12, and the competitions will be held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center on Friday, July 13 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The ACT-SO Awards Ceremony will take place on Sunday, July 15 at 12:30p.m. and will feature special appearances by internet sensation Kalen Allen, who was recently signed as talent by Ellen DeGeneres. This free event is open to the public and the audience will be treated to dramatic, dance, spoken word and vocal performances by the ACT-SO contestants themselves.