The ACT-SO program is helping African-American students everywhere


Natacia Branstrom, Social Media Team

The ACT-SO is a national youth program that is run by the NAACP. ACT-SO stands for Afro-Academic, Culture, Technology, and Scientific Olympics. This is a year long program designed for young African-American teenagers who are interested in the arts.

The program hosts a number of competitions between the months of April and September. These competitions involve things such as art shows, musical performances, plays, visual arts, and dances performed by the teens. Each student in the program is given time to put together and practice: they then perform in the competition. The competition is judged by a local teacher and three professionals for each category.

“There is a gold, silver, and bronze award. If you receive a gold for your presentation, the NAACP pays for you and a parent to go to the national convention,” said Loy Norrix art teacher and competition judge Cindy Vanlieu.

Senior Katherine Gray competed in the vocal category and won first place. She and the other winners from the other categories got to go spend 4 days in Detroit leading up the the national competition.

“I won first place and received a gold medal at the local competition and from there, I prepared to go to the national competition which in 2019 was hosted by Detroit. I learned a lot from this competition and I really hope I can go back to Nationals this year because this event was the biggest thing that has ever happened to me,” said Gray.

The ACT-SO program was created over forty years ago by a man named Vernon Jerret to help recognize and reward African-American students who show artistic excellence. The main goal of ACT-SO is to eliminate racial prejudice and to showcase youth who have overcome the the effects of racial disrcimination. The talented students in ACT-SO program show that African-American teens are an asset and not a liability to our communities.