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Scott Green, ACT-SO Chair
The mission of NAACP Little Rock Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological, & Scientific Olympics (LR NAACP ACT-SO) is to:
Overcome the vicious cycle of low scholastic expectations and achievement that plagues Black underserved minority youth throughout Little Rock;
Strengthen Black high school students’ academic skills and inspire the confidence they will need to succeed as adults; and
Offer individualized academic mentorship and diverse enrichment activities, of which there is short supply in the Little Rock public, private, charter, and parochial high schools.
Established in Chicago in 1977 and implemented in Little Rock in 2010, ACT-SO is a non-profit program operating under the administrative aegis of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The Little Rock Branch ACT-SO program has two major components:
Regularly scheduled enrichment workshops and
“Olympics of the Mind” showcase and ceremony.
During the workshops, which are held during the academic year, volunteer coaches work with students on projects and assignments designed to enhance the students’ knowledge and skills in the Sciences, Arts and Humanities. Additional components of the workshops are seminars and trips designed to introduce students to their cultural heritage and other workshops to prepare them for college and employment. The program culminates with the “Olympics of the Mind” showcase and awards ceremony which give the students an opportunity to present their projects and to be recognized for their achievements.
Since the inception of the program, over 100 Little Rock high school students have participated in the local workshops and competitions. During the school year, Little Rock Branch ACT-SO expects to work with approximately 100 students in 32 separate workshops, and take the first place medalists from each of the ACT-SO categories to the national competition.
The goal of Little Rock Branch ACT-SO is to encourage earnest effort so students gain the confidence and skills they will need to thrive as adults. Our primary goal is to continue and expand not only the number of students we service at the high school level, but to more aggressively reach out to 8th grade students to introduce them to the rewards of academic and artistic endeavors.
ACT-SO is more than an academic program for high schools students where only a select few display their abilities. ACT-SO is an attempt to thwart the vicious cycle of low expectation and low scholastic achievement that is plaguing communities throughout the nation. In order to achieve our goals, we need to obtain the financial support of all civic-minded individuals and corporations.
Why Support ACT-SO
Black students represent over 70 percent of all students attending Little Rock public schools. America’s competitiveness and economic stability in the 21st century depends upon improving the quality of education and employment potential for the broadest possible spectrum of this population. Today’s investment in the Black high school students of Little Rock is an investment in the future long term success of Little Rock’s corporate and small business community.
Little Rock Branch ACT-SO can make a difference by providing a positive environment for Black youth. The impact is evident among the former participants in the form of their achievements, enthusiasm, increased confidence and vision for success. A review of past Little Rock Branch ACT-SO activities indicates that approximately 100 percent of all participants completed high school, and approximately 90 percent of all local medalists entered college while the others pursued vocational careers.