Each year, high school students across the country start a journey to sharpen their skills through the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO). From visual arts and business to performing and culinary arts, participants work with community-based volunteers for a year to develop projects and performances. The experience culminates in local and national events where students compete for scholarships and other rewards.

ACT-SO inspires young Black students to expand their horizons and sharpen their skills. From performing and culinary arts to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), students can demonstrate their talents in up to three competition areas. Explore the 32 competitive fields.

The Pennsylvania State Conference currently has ACT-SO Programs in the Coraopolis Branch – Carter Spruill, Chairperson, Greater Harrisburg Area Branch – Kaaba Brunson, Chairperson and Philadelphia Branch – Vee Norris, Chairperson.

Pennsylvania Black Conference on Higher Education
Pursuant to the NAACP ACT-SO/ PBCOHE Work Alliance, the Executive Committee of the Pennsylvania Black Conference supports the Statewide NAACP ACT-SO Programs by making judges available to judge in each local competition.

If your branch is interested in starting an ACT-SO Program contact Kaaba Brunson, State ACT-SO Chair at 717-645-4873 or kaabanjie@verizon.net.
You can also see more information at https://naacp.org/our-work/youth-programs/act-so-achievement-program

Local ACT-SO Competitions – April 2023


Coraopolis ACT-SO Program

The competition was held on April 1. There were four gold medals awarded. Mia Clemons won gold medals for Original Essay and Poetry Performance. Sanai Home won gold medals for Music Instrumental Classical and Music Contemporary.

Greater Harrisburg Area ACT-SO Program

The competition was held on April 8. There were sixteen gold medals awarded. Janice Baldwin for Original Essay.
Priscilla Smith for Short Story. Sophia Lozada-Delzell for Dance Ballet. Tawiah Amanor for Dance Contemporary. Jahree Payne for Dance Modern. Tijesuni Ademuwagun for Dance Traditional. Tsion Estifanos for Music Vocal Contemporary. Isaiah Houssou for Classical Instrumental. Kimia Folks for Instrumental Contemporary. India Smith for Poetry Performance. Morgan Marino for Biology. Kayla Dornevil for Drawing. Princess Tommy for Filmmaking. Arin Martin for Painting. Olivia Stokes for Photography.
Awwal Boswell won the gold medal for Business Entrepreneurship.

Philadelphia ACT-SO Program

The competition was held on April 22. There were eight gold medals awarded. To six students for Instrumental Classical, Instrumental Contemporary, Business Entrepreneurship*, Poetry Written*, Filmmaking, Poetry Performance, Dramatics*, Dance Contemporary* *2 Students – Double-Gold. Each gold medalist will represent their respective Branches and Pennsylvania at the National ACT-SO Competition. With each Branch sending quality candidates in each subject area, we are hopeful that Pennsylvania can again, bring home medals from the National ACT-SO Competition.


National ACT-SO Competitions – July 2023

Pennsylvania was well represented at the National ACT-SO Competition in Boston, MA. All three Pennsylvania Programs
participated in the rallies and preliminary activities at the National Competition. We took advantage of the opportunity to interact with each other as much as possible. Our students’ names were called for participation in some on stage activities as well as a few of our adult attendees letting the whole country know that Pennsylvania was in the house!

Post Competition Workshop Activities

After the competition and before the Award Ceremony, our students also attended a variety of the workshops that were offered and were designed to expose them to various programs and opportunities from colleges that would aid them in choosing educational objectives and future career paths. Many of the questions raised in the workshops came from Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania won two medals at the National ACT-SO Competition. Our Pennsylvania three branch delegation was exuberantly led into the Award Ceremony by Chairperson Vee Norris. Vee remains the person we all look to, to raise our spirits and make sure that the world knows that Pennsylvania is in the house!

Mia Clemmons of the Coraopolis ACT-SO Program won the Silver Medal for Poetry Performance.

Morgan Marino of the Greater Harrisburg ACT-SO Program won the Silver Medal for Biology/Microbiology.

What is most encouraging, is the fact that both Mia and Morgan are underclassmen and will be eligible to participate in ACT-SO
again next year!