WALDORF, Md. – Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) high school students can learn more about a NAACP-sponsored program during an upcoming orientation and kick-off event. The NAACP’s Academic, Cultural, Technological, & Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) is designed to pair teens with professionals in specific areas of interest. The Charles County Branch of the NAACP will hold an ACT-SO orientation and kickoff 6:30 to 8 p.m., Nov. 18, at Graces Event Center, formerly Middleton Hall.

Students of African descent who are U.S. citizens, in Grades 9 to 12 and who are amateurs are eligible to participate in ACT-SO. A community-based enrichment program, ACT-SO pairs students with volunteer instructors and mentors to develop projects and take part in enrichment opportunities like workshops, tutorials and field trips. The interest areas are in STEM, business, humanities, performing visual and culinary arts, and hospitality management.

Local ACT-SO competitions and ceremonies highlight projects, research and work completed by students. Competition winners at the local level receive medals and prizes provided by local and regional sponsors and contributors. Gold medalists at the local level advance to the national competition where they vie for scholarships and other rewards provided by national sponsors.

Students can participate in up to three competition areas and if they advance at the local level, they receive the opportunity to compete against other top students from around the country on a national scale. 

In the STEM interest area, students can participate in competitions for:
• Architecture
• Biology/microbiology
• Chemistry/biochemistry
• Computer science
• Earth & space science
• Engineering
• Mathematics
• Medicine and health
• Physics

Entrepreneurship is the competition area in the Business category.

In the Visual Arts interest area, students can participate in competitions for:
• Drawing
• Filmmaking
• Painting
• Photography
• Sculpture

In the Humanities interest area, students can compete in:
• Music composition
• Original essay
• Playwriting
• Poetry: Written
• Short story
• Poetry: Performance

In the Performing Arts interest area, students can participate in competitions for:
• Dance — Ballet
• Dance — Contemporary
• Dance — Modern
• Dance — Traditional
• Dramatic Arts — Acting
• Music Instrumental — Classical
• Music Instrumental — Contemporary
• Music Vocal — Classical
• Musical Vocal — Contemporary
• Oratory
• Poetry Performance

There are also a Culinary Arts interest area and a Hospitality Management interest area. For more details about each category, click here.

ACT-SO is designed to recruit, stimulate and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among Black high school students. ACT-SO students sharpen their skills by working for a year with community-based volunteers familiar with the specific content areas.  

Volunteers in the community mentor students in their field of interest while promoting academic and artistic excellence among the younger generation. Community members who want to participate as mentors, sponsors, organizers and in other roles can contact dora.actso@gmail.com or ccnaacpactso@gmail.com. Students and their parents who would like more information about ACT-SO, may contact dora.actso@gmail.com or ccnaacpactso@gmail.com.

To see a video about an ACT-SO program, visit https://vimeo.com/378283796.

Graces Event Center is at 4045 Renner Road in Waldorf.