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NAACP ACT-SO program recognizes achievement of African-American youth

Posted at 12:22 PM, Jan 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-25 12:23:12-05

CLEVELAND — Saturday, Cleveland’s branch of the NAACP is hosting an informational session for its ACT-SO program.

It’s a unique opportunity for African American high school students to develop their skills in the areas of arts, culture, and academics.

ACT-SO stands for Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological, and Scientific Olympics of the Mind.

The program allows those students to see just how connected they already are to each of those areas in their own communities. They’ll have access to volunteers and business leaders who act as mentors and also meet other students with similar interests.

ACT-SO was founded nearly 40 years ago and nearly 300,000 students have participated.

Students have their pick of thirty-two categories to compete in – including STEM, business, performing and culinary arts.

They’ll work with mentors in each of those areas to prepare for the local competition in April. Students who win first place will go on to the national competition in Boston in July.

The NAACP says the goal of the program is to prepare, recognize, and reward these students and provide them with the skills to make a successful contribution to society.

“We hope through this program by having professionals that are out doing this work every day that are willing to spend extra time with them and help to create this opportunity – they feel the love of the community, they feel the love of themselves, and then they have the opportunity to go and compete on a national stage. And that’s a huge opportunity for everybody for anybody, but let alone someone who comes from a neighborhood where maybe they’ve never had an opportunity like that,” Danielle Sydnor, president of the NAACP’s Cleveland branch, said.

Saturday’s informational session for ACT-SO is being held at the Shaker Heights Library from 2 to 4 p.m. Students must be enrolled in grades 9 through 12.

More information on the program, including how to apply, can be found here.

Jade Jarvis is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.