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Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics

ACT-SO: Developing and Celebrating the Academic Talents of African-American High School Students

Welcome to the informational page for the San Diego Branch of the NAACP’s ACT-SO competition.  We’re glad you’re here, whether you are an African-American High School student looking to enter, or a member of the San Diego community interested in mentoring, judging, recruiting, or assisting!


What is ACT-SO?

The NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) is a yearlong achievement program designed to recruit, stimulate, and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among African-American high school students.

ACT-SO includes 33 competitions in STEM, humanities, business, and performing, visual and culinary arts. Almost 300,000 young people have participated from the program since its inception.  (For a very brief description of each category, please see our Categories page.)

For forty years the mission of ACT-SO has been to prepare, recognize and reward youth of African descent who exemplify scholastic and artistic excellence.


Yeah, but SPECIFICALLY What is ACT-SO?

Students will, over the course of the school year, prepare a scientific paper, a play, an essay or other academic work (for a full listing, see our Categories page.) The NAACP will provide mentorship and assistance all along the way. At the end of the school year (specifically, April 23, 2022) there will be a virtual local competition for the students, with expert judges. Work that achieves the highest standard will get the student a spot in the national ACT-SO competition in July 2022. The NAACP San Diego Branch will cover travel expenses to Charlotte, NC, if conditions permit travel; otherwise, the competition will be virtual.


The Goals of ACT-SO are:

  • To mobilize the adult community for the promotion of academic and artistic excellence.
  • To recognize creative talent and academic achievement.
  • To provide and assist students with the necessary skills to establish goals and acquire the confidence and training to make a successful contribution to society.

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