By: Crystal Toussant
As a long-time NAACP Act-So Ambassador and Recruiter, I am always excited to sing the praises of the extraordinarily talented youth who participate in this cornerstone program that has existed for 44 years. At the end of each school year, NAACP youth members compete in NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO). This program gives Black high school students — over 300,000 to date — a platform to bring their ideas to life, compete, and begin their journey to becoming leaders in STEM, humanities, business, and the arts. In more recent years, the NAACP has included other people of diverse ethnic backgrounds in NAACP ACT-SO competitions, because black youth were not taking advantage of this amazing opportunity.
High school-aged students from all over the nation participate in the NAACP ACT-SO competitions in their local city. If a student wins a Gold Medal, their local NAACP chapter pays for the student to attend the national NAACP ACT-SO competition. On Sunday, May 22, our Houston Chapter of the NAACP ACT-SO Competition awarded several students gold medals which will earn each student the right to compete at the National ACT-SO Competition in. In the Business Competition for Entrepreneurship, the winners are as follows: a Gold medal was awarded to an 11th grader from King Park High School, Alexander Curtis. In the Original Essay Competition, a gold medal was awarded to Ava Winn, a 10th grader from The Kinkaid High School. In the Playwriting Competition, a Gold medal was awarded to Kemi Alade, a 12th grader from Dobie High School. In Original Poetry Written Competition, a Gold medal was awarded to Kaitlin Johnson, a 12th grader from Ridge Point High School. In Drawing & Sculpture Competitions, a Gold medal was awarded to Anaya Brown, a 12th grader from Kinder High School of the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA). In Filmmaking Competition, a Gold Medal was awarded to Kemi Alade , a 12th grader from J. Frank Dobie High School. In Painting Competition, a Gold medal was awarded to Azana Mims, a 10th grader from Jack Yates High School. In Dance Competition for Ballet and Contemporary, a Gold medal was awarded to Kendall Moshay, a 9th grader – Kinder High School for Performing & Visual Arts. In Music Vocal Contemporary, a Gold medal was awarded to Gabrielle North, a 12th grader from The Elevated Places.
The NAACP ACT-SO Competition Silver medalists are Zion Alexander, a 12th grader from Ridge Point High School, Alexander Curtis, an 11th grader from King Park High School for Poetry – Written, Joseph Emerson, a 12th grader from Spring Woods High School for Sculpture, Naari Kemebrew, a 12th grader from Newton High School for Music Vocal Contemporary, Kerrigan Gaston, a 9th grader from Cypress Ranch School for Poetry Performance.
The NAACP ACT-SO Competition Bronze Medalists are Michele Martinez, a 10th grader from Spring Woods High School for Drawing, Anaya Brown, a 12th grader from Kinder High School of the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) for Drawing, Hayleigh Franco, a 12th grader from Spring Woods High School in Sculpture, Sydnei Cross, a 10th grader from Glen Dawson High School in Contemporary Dance, Marcus Harris II, a 10th grader–Strake Jesus College Preparatory for Music Instrumental Classical, Karrington Adams, a 10th grader from Klein Oak Senior High for Music Instrumental Contemporary, Cameron Marshall, a 10th grader from Glen Dawson High School for Music Vocal Classical, Kemi Alade, a 12th grader from J. Frank Dobie High School for Music Vocal Contemporary, Kyla Caraway, and a 12th grader from Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy for Poetry Performance.
The NAACP ACT-SO Competition has offered amazing opportunities for thousands of students nationwide to showcase their talents and earn scholarship money for being active participants in the NAACP initiatives that work to better the lives of people of color all over our nation. We hope sharing these students’ great accomplishments will encourage parents as well as other students to get involved with the NAACP and the ACT-SO program. Thank you, Houston NAACP Chapter, National NAACP Headquarters, NAACP ACT-SO participants, and parents for your dedication, service, and support in making our talent in the Houston community prepared to enter the world with great skill and a commitment to excellence.