What is ACT-SO?

ACT-SO is an acronym for Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics. Its mission is to recognize, prepare, and reward African-American youth who exemplify scholastic and artistic excellence.

ACT-SO is a yearlong enrichment program for high school students of African descent which culminates in a competition through which youth demonstrate prowess in science, humanities, performing and visual arts, and entrepreneurship.

ACT-SO was founded in 1978 by the renowned journalist, Vernon Jarrett, and was adopted by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as a major youth initiative.

ACT-SO is rooted in the firm conviction that African-Americans can succeed and compete at the same or superior levels as their counterparts in classrooms, boardrooms and laboratories across this nation and abroad.

ACT-SO depends on the dedication and commitment of parents, teachers, community volunteers, and business leaders who serve as coaches, judges, and sources of other support for the students’ growth and achievement.

Who Can Participate in ACT-SO?

Students of African descent who are enrolled in grades 9 through 12 and are U.S. citizens or legal residents are able to participate. They will be expected to take a youth membership in the NAACP. Participants must be amateurs in their categories of competition, that is, a student who is or has been paid professionally is allowed to compete only in categories outside of his or her professional experience. Students are required to seek a coach in preparing for competition.