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NAACP ACT-SO

Morningside Heights

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NYC ACT-SO is one of over 140 chapters of the largest academic program dedicated to under-served minorities, primarily of Black and Hispanic descent, in America, NAACP NYC ACT-SO (The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People New York City Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics) is a volunteer-driven academic enrichment program serving high school students from the New York Metro Area.

  • Description:
    The program consists of an Academic Enrichment Program and an annual Competition. In the Academic Enrichment Program, students are mentored one-on-one and in small groups with volunteer professionals in the field, as they research, create, and develop projects in up to 3 of 25 categories across the humanities, sciences, and arts. The Academic Enrichment Program is held on Saturdays during the school year, from October to April.

    In the local Academic Competition, held each spring, students present their projects and compete before judges—professionals in the respective fields of competition—in each of the categories. The results are announced at the local Awards Ceremony, where students receive public recognition for their efforts, medals, along with cash prizes, and college scholarships.

    Gold medal winners are then invited to compete at the national ACT-SO convention along with 1,100-1,200 other students. Winners also have the opportunity to explore the NAACP national convention, as the two conventions are held at the same time.

History:
ACT-SO was created in 1977 by Vernon D. Jarrett a Chicago-based journalist who also co-founded the National Association of Black Journalists. Mr. Jarrett observed that while young minorities received limited accolades for athletic prowess, there was no such opportunity to encourage and honor their intellectual and creative accomplishments.

In 1978, the NAACP agreed to serve as national sponsor and ACT-SO became a program through which minority youth could grow and develop confidence in academic areas.

NAACP New York City ACT-SO was co-founded in 1987 by Ben Duster and Anton Tomlinson. Since the program's inception, Mr. Tomlinson has led NAACP NYC ACT-SO as Board Chairman, and in 2002, he retired after 25 years as a System Analyst at Smith Barney Citigroup, to volunteer full-time as Executive Director. Under his leadership, NAACP NYC ACT-SO has become the flagship of the 140 ACT-SO chapters, and has received several awards of distinction at the state and national levels.


Since its inception, NAACP NYC ACT-SO has mentored nearly 5,000 Black high school students from the metropolitan New York City area, at no fee to participants.


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