Annual NAACP ACT-SO Competition Featuring Leaders of Tomorrow to Commence July 8 in NYC

The 31st annual NAACP ACT-SO competition will take place from July 8-11, 2009 at the Marriott Marquis in New York City. The competition features some of the most talented youth from diverse disciplines and areas across the country, and opens the NAACP Centennial Convention, which celebrates the organization’s 100th anniversary.

The Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics, better known as ACT-SO, is the NAACP’s pioneering youth enrichment program designed to recruit, stimulate, improve and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among African American high school students. Founded by Vernon Jarrett in 1978, the program was created to promote and reward young academic achievers, celebrating them with honors rivaling that of entertainers and athletes.

Beginning July 8, students will compete in 26 ACT-SO categories, including sciences, humanities, performing arts, visual arts, and business over the course of the five-day event. The majority of the science, performing arts and visual arts competitions are open to the public. National winners of gold, silver and bronze medals in the 2009 ACT-SO competitions will be announced July 12 in ceremonies at the New York City Hilton.

ACT-SO programs span the majority of the calendar year beginning in the fall, followed by mentoring and enrichment of participants through the winter months, culminating in nearly 200 local competitions that run through April. Competition winners receive medals and prizes provided by the local and regional sponsors and contributors. The local gold medalists then advance to the national competition and earn the opportunity to receive scholarships and other rewards provided by national sponsors.

ACT-SO attracts some of the nation’s most gifted high school students. Its past participants occupy a wide array of careers ranging from executive positions to entertainment. Famed ACT-SO alumni include musician Kanye West, actress Jada Pinkett-Smith, filmmaker John Singleton and comedian Anthony Anderson.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

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