Press Release

ACT-SO Programs and Events to Open Convention Week

July 17, 2017

Cornelius Smith Jr. to Host ACT-SO Competition at 108th National Convention in Baltimore


BALTIMORE (July 17, 2017) – The NAACP’s 108th Annual Convention begins with the NAACP ACT-SO (Academic, Cultural, Technical and Scientific Olympics for high school students) final competition and awards. Hosted by Cornelius Smith Jr., an ACT-SO alum and star of ABC’s Scandal, this year, 700 of the nation’s top students will vie for laptops and college scholarships in the 39th annual ACT-SO competitions themed “Victory in Everything”. 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 in 1978.

“Our ACT-SO contestants always bring a joyous and youthful energy to the convention,” said Larry Brown, ACT-SO National Director, “This year’s program will continue to foster that spirit of creativity and scholarship, and we hope the experience will spark the promise they have to offer many contributions in their local communities and the world at large.”

An Opportunity to Excel

A highlight of the ACT-SO program will be the exciting culinary completion taking place at 2p.m. on July 21st at the Sheraton Hotel. Community members, families and prospective culinary students are invited to attend the free event.

On Saturday July 22nd, the ACT-SO participants will take part in the Create-a-thon – an opportunity for visual arts students to create a mural encompassing this year’s theme of “Victory in Everything”. The contestants can register to attend master classes in health, art, acting and STEM subjects sponsored by General Motors.

ACT-SO participants will be able to attend an advance screening of the film STEP – the true-life story of a girls’ high-school step team set against the backdrop of downtown Baltimore. Empowered by their teachers, teammates, counselors, coaches and families, they chase their ultimate dreams: to win a step championship and be accepted into college. The film opens two weeks later in theatres nationwide on August 4.

ACT-SO registration begins on Thursday, July 20th, and the competitions will be held at the Baltimore Convention Center on Friday, July 21st from 9:00a.m. to 7:00p.m. The ACT-SO Awards Ceremony will take place on Sunday, July 23rd at 12:30p.m. and will feature special appearances by the cast of the STEP, recording artist and ACT-SO alum, MAJOR., and famed choreographer, Anthony Burrell, who is also a graduate of the ACT-SO program. This free event is open to the public and the audience will be treated to dramatic, dance, spoken word and vocal performances by the ACT-SO contestants themselves.

The 108th Annual Convention will take place at the Baltimore Convention Center, One Pratt St. For a detailed schedule of events and locations, visit the NAACP convention website.



Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas by visiting