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2021 Event Date: April 17,18, 24, and 25 Via Zoom
What is ACT-SO?
The Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological & Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO), the “Olympics of the Mind” is a major national youth initiative of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
ACT-SO is rooted in the firm conviction that African-Americans can succeed and compete at the same or superior level as their counterparts in classrooms, boardrooms and laboratories across this nation and abroad. The objective of ACT-SO is to prepare, recognize and reward African-American youth who exemplify scholastic and artistic excellence. Gold winners may compete at the ACT-SO National Competition held at the NAACP’s Convention held each July.

Benefits of Participation

ACT-SO is a learning experience that focuses on achievement, mentorship, and enrichment. The local competition showcases the hard work and academic and artistic talents of the students. Students receive support from mentors and develop the skills and tools for goal setting, self-confidence, presentation skills, and more. This program gives students the opportunity to positively impact their communities and society. It also provides the community an opportunity to work with and recognize the “leaders of tomorrow!”

ACT-SO at a Glance


ACT-SO was designed to stimulate, promote and encourage high academic and artistic achievement among African American high school students. In short, we will "act so" that academic and artistic achievers receive great recognition. ACT-SO recognizes that while gold, silver and bronze medals are effective incentives to excellence, awards are not the primary goal. Rather, our vision centers around the mobilization of adults in our communities for the continuous promotion of academic and artistic excellence among African American students. We urge all NAACP units to reach out and recruit volunteers to serve as year-long instructors, coaches, teaches, and most importantly role models for our youth in all of the categories in this program.


NAACP branches across the country conduct annual local ACT-SO competitions through April. Contact your NAACP branch or the National ACT-SO Director as soon as possible to locate the program in your area and to verify the categories available in that local competition. All categories are not necessarily available in every local competition. If there is no program in your city or town, you may compete in the competition closest to your hometown. all Youth participating in the National ACT-SO competition must:
  1. Be first place winners in the local ACT-SO competition. Note: Any first place winner must meet the scoring requirements and submit all required materials, on or before the date designated by the National ACT-SO Office.
  2. Compete with the same performance and/or project used at the local level.
  3. Be available to compete at the National Competition in order to remain eligible for all local NAACP ACT-SO monetary prizes and awards.

For more information about ACT-SO, go to

ACT-SO Competition Categories

Student can select up to 3 competitions from a total of 32 offerings.


The local NAACP ACT-SO Committee is responsible for conducting the local competitions.

The local ACT-SO committee has many responsibilities:
  • conducting planning meetings
  • recruiting sponsors and other community support
  • recruiting students and mentors in the fall
  • assisting coaches and students in the development of projects that are competitive and will benefit our youth
  • selecting qualified judges for the local competition
  • organizing the local competition event
  • and overseeing the winners’ submission to and participation in the national competition

If you are interested in volunteering on a local ACT-SO committee, you may contact Montgomery County ACT-SO Coordinator Ms. Pat Price:  email:, phone: 301-587-1722.

Coaches may be teachers, parents, university professors, professionals, or any person with expertise in one of the competition area listed in these guidelines. Coaches need to be willing to devote at least one hour per week to guiding, advising and supporting their students’ efforts.

Judges are degreed professionals or employed professionals in the category that they are judging. Judges are responsible for selecting the best among the submissions in accordance with the judging criteria. Local judges may not serve as judges at the National Competitions.

Students are, of course, the very heart of ACT-SO. They must strictly follow the criteria explained in the guidelines. Every participant is encouraged to become an NAACP youth member.

Sponsors provide financial and equipment resources, as well as human resources to lend technical expertise during the local and national competitions.

ACT-SO High School Liaisons

If there is no liaison listed for your school, please contact Ms. Pat Price by email at or call 301-587-1722.

ACT-SO Liaisons for MCPS High Schools

Alternative Programs Ms. Teresa Sikora Teacher, 240-279-4920
Bethesda-Chevy Chase Mr. Sharif Robinson Assistant Principal, 240-497-6300
Montgomery Blair Mrs. Darlene Harris Assistant Principal, 301-649-2800
James Hubert Blake Mr. Omari Daniel Teacher, 301-879-1300
Winston Churchill Ms. Brandi Richardson Assistant School Administrator, 301-469-1200
Clarksburg Ms. Cintonya Somerville Career Information Coordinator, 301-444-3000
Damascus Mr. Edward Martin Career Information Coordinator, 301-253-7030
Albert Einstein Ms. Nakeisha Roland Teacher, 301-929-2200
Gaithersburg Mrs. Dyan Harrison Assistant Principal, 301-840-4700
Walter Johnson Mr. Micah Wiggins Assistant Principal, 301-803-7100
John F. Kennedy Ms. Carol Fernandez Assistant School Administrator, 301-929-2100
Col. Zadok
Mrs. Jane Cocker
Mr. Donald Wharton
Teacher, Career Preparation, 301-840-4600
Teacher, Career Support, 301-840-4600
Richard Montgomery Ms. Mary Hull Career Information Coordinator, 301-610-8000
Northwest Mrs. Lilly Greenlee Media Services Technician, 301-601-4660
Northwood Mr. Delmar Padgett Student Support Specialist, 301-649-8088
Paint Branch Ms. Katherine Brown Counselor, 301-989-5600
Poolesville Mrs. Jacky Orrence Assistant Principal, 301-972-7900
Quince Orchard Mrs. Carla McNeal Assistant School Administrator, 301-840-4686
Rockville Ms. Janet Harris Career Information Coordinator, 301-517-8105
Seneca Valley Ms. Elizabeth Bell Career Preparation Teacher, 301-353-8000
Sherwood Dr. Kathlyn Carroll Assistant Principal, 301-924-3200
Springbrook Ms. Mechande Manning Special Education Paraeducator, 301-989-5700
Watkins Mill Mr. Rodney Long Teacher, 301-840-3959
Wheaton Mrs. Cynthia Hammond Davis Career Information Coordinator, 301-929-2050
Walt Whitman Mr. Jerome Easton Assistant Principal, 301-320-6600
Thomas S. Wootton Ms. Lynda Hitchcock Career Information Coordinator, 301-279-8550
ACT-SO Competition Virtual Locations

The 2021 competitions will be held virtually, via Zoom sessions on April 17, 18, 24, and 25.  Information to access the sessions will be sent to the students who are competing.  Please be sure to submit your applications to




ACT-SO Safety Procedures

In order to ensure a safe environment for our contestants, we request that you carefully review the NAACP ACT-SO Safety Procedures listed below. The NAACP ACT-SO Program prohibits the use of the following materials for display.

  • Living organisms (ex., plants, animals, and microbes)
  • Dried plant materials (taxidermy specimens or parts)
  • Human/animal foods, human/animal parts or bodily fluids (e.g. blood, urine. Note: dried animal bones, histological dry mount section, wet mount tissue slides, teeth, hair, and nails are acceptable).
  • Soil or waste samples
  • Preserved vertebrate or invertebrate animals (inclusive of embryos)
  • Laboratory chemicals, including water
  • Dry ice or other sublimating solids (i.e. solids which vaporize to a gas without passing through a liquid phase)
  • Poisons, drugs, controlled substance, hazardous substances or devices (i.e. firearms, ammunition, or reloading devices)
  • Sharp items (syringes, needles, or pipettes)
  • Flames or highly flammable display materials which vaporize to a gas without passing through a liquid phase
  • Batteries with open top cells
Contestants are advised to use photographs and other visuals for presentation. Due to the potential for serious harm to the contestants and others, and project that displays these items at the National ACT-SO Competition will be disqualified.