Vernon Jarrett, a renowned author and journalist, initiated the idea of a program that would promote and reward academic achievers the same way sports heroes are honored. The first national ACT-SO competition was held in 1978 in Portland, Oregon.
High school students of African descent who are citizens of the United States, enrolled in grades 9-12 and are amateurs in the categories of competition are able to participate.
ACT-SO COMPETITION CATEGORIES Culinary and Hospitality Management competitions will not be offered in 2020-21 by Fort Worth Tarrant County ACT-SO. The NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) is an achievement program designed to recruit, stimulate, and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among African-American high school students.
ACT-SO includes 32 competitions in STEM, Humanities, Business, and Performing, Visual and Culinary arts. Almost 300,000 young people have participated in the program since its inception. For over thirty years the mission of ACT-SO has been to prepare, recognize and reward youth of African descent who exemplify scholastic and artistic excellence.
The ACT-SO program is intended to be a learning experience, first and foremost. The focus of a viable and effective local ACT-SO program is on enrichment and mentorship. Students work with ACT-SO mentors who help them develop projects throughout the year. Local ACT- SO programs also provide ACT-SO students with enrichment opportunities, such as workshops, tutorials, and field trips. The benefits ACT-SO Olympians receive from the enrichment and mentorship components include substantial assistance toward the development of their ACT-SO projects and valuable tools to assist them throughout their education.
Each ACT-SO program conducts a local competition. The local competition serves to showcase the hard work students have done. Students receive medals and prizes provided by the local and regional sponsors and contributors. ACT-SO Olympians who receive gold medals on the local level then compete at the national competition where they receive scholarships and other rewards provided by national sponsors.
ACT-SO is a major youth initiative of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Founded in 1978, by renowned author and journalist, Vernon Jarrett, ACT-SO provides a forum, through which youth of African descent demonstrate academic, artistic, and scientific prowess and expertise, thereby gaining the same recognition often only reserved for entertainers and athletes. The mission of ACT-SO is to prepare, recognize, and reward youth of African descent who exemplify scholastic and artistic excellence.
Students may participate in one category or a maximum of three categories.
All competitions run concurrently by Judges who are experts in the field. There are guidelines for each competition with judging criteria and points outlined. Medals are awarded, at the discretion of the Judges, for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in each category with participants. First place medal winners have the opportunity to participate in the National Competition. Cash scholarships are awarded at National for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in each category, plus other prizes. These are awarded to the student, not the Branch. In the 30 years of the Fort Worth/Tarrant County Branch’s ACT-SO program, we have won over 40 National medals. So we know our students can compete against the best in the country.