The search for Memphis-area talent to participate in the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) is underway propelled by a student orientation program held recently at First Baptist Church-Broad.
The ACT-SO program is a nationally recognized youth and achievement initiative sponsored by the NAACP, with high school students from the tri-state area encouraged to take part.
"The focus of a viable and effective local ACT-SO program is enrichment and mentorship," said Madeleine Taylor, executive director of the Memphis Branch NAACP.
"The benefits ACT-SO students 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. The local competition serves to showcase the hard work students have put in all year long."
As an enrichment program, ACT-SO is designed to recruit, stimulate, improve and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among African-American high school students (grades 9-12). The Memphis NAACP recruits students from Shelby County and the surrounding counties that may not have an ACT-SO program in their community. Students receive medals and prizes provided by the local sponsors and are eligible to compete for the Maxine A. Smith Scholarship.
ACT-SO students who receive gold medals on the local level then compete at the National ACT-SO competition where they receive scholarships and other rewards provided by national sponsors. Gold medal contestants receive all-expense paid transportation and lodging to the National ACT-SO competition provided by the Memphis NAACP.
Students compete in the broad categories of humanities, performing arts, visual arts, entrepreneurship, and the sciences. The Memphis chairperson of ACT-SO, M.P. Carter, has dedicated 12 years to the local competition and assembled a professional support team to guide and mentor the students.
For more information about the 35-year-old ACT-SO program, contact the Memphis Branch NAACP at 901-521-1343 or visit www.NAACPMemphis.com. The deadline for applications with completed projects is Jan. 13.