• Now Accepting Applications

    What is ACT-SO?

    ACT-SO Columbia is a yearlong mentoring and achievement program for high school students where they demonstrate academic, artistic, and scientific expertise for a chance to compete nationally and win scholarships & prizes.

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  • Richland Two Student Wins National Medal

    Congratulations Kiara!

    Kiara Hayes, Senior at Ridge View High School, won a Bronze Medal at the National NAACP ACT-SO Olympics in the category of Classical Music this past July. Kiara will receive $1,000.00 scholarship and a laptop computer.

    Congratulations Kiara!
  • What are you passionate about?

    ACT-SO Has 31 Categories

    Students who compete in the local and national ACT-SO competition can compete in up to three (3) of the following categories. Watch the video to see all of the categories.

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  • What are Students Saying about ACT-SO?

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What is ACT-SO

The Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological & Scientific Olympics

ACT-SO, sponsored by the NAACP, is a yearlong enrichment & achievement program for high school students designed to stimulate and encourage high academic & cultural achievement among African-American high school students. ACT-SO culminates in a local and national competition where students compete for awards, and prizes totaling over $100,000.

ACT-SO, often referred to as the “Olympics of the Mind”, seeks to promote:

  • Positive self-esteem
  • Positive interaction between students & mentors
  • Positive academic and artistic excellence
  • High academic and cultural achievement


Meet The Team

Meet the NAACP ACT-SO Columbia core volunteer team responsible for running the program throughout the year.

More About Our Team
Shaun Adams

Shaun Adams


Taren Bernard

Taren Bernard


Tia Adams

Tia Adams

Core Team Volunteer

Trinita Webster

Trinita Webster

Core Team Volunteer

What Are Students Saying about ACT-SO

Pearis Bellamy

Pearis Bellamy

National Bronze Medalist / Entrepreneurship

"I joined ACT-SO my freshman year and it was probably one of the best decisions I've made. I've met great mentors, leaders, teachers and friends that have truly helped me become a better person. I've done things I never thought I would do and all thanks to the great people I've met in this program."

Justin Brown

Justin Brown

Gold Medalist / Music Instrumental Classical

“ACT-SO showed me who I am personally and where my passion is: music. I had the experience to go to nationals two years in a row in Houston, Texas and Orlando, Florida. It was the best experience of my life.”

LaToya Dove

LaToya Dove

Silver Medalist / Dance

“ACT-SO helped me to become more self confident and better public speaker. It also taught me leadership skills which always is a positive.”

Aaron Savage

Aaron Savage

National Bronze Medalist / Original Essay

“ACT-SO helped me become a better public speaker, communicator and more outgoing person. All of these are extremely helpful as a communication major.”

Janelle Wellons

National Gold Medalist / Mathematics

“ACT-SO put a smile on my face every week. My mentors could turn any story into a life lesson. The awards ceremonies were always, entertaining!!!(in a good way)”

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Famous ACT-SO Alumni

In its 30 year history an estimated 300,000 students have participated in ACT-SO. Over that time more than $354,000 in national competition prizes, bonds, monetary awards, laptop computers and scholarships have been awarded. Famed ACT-SO alumni include Jada Pinkett-Smith, Kanye West, Anthony Anderson, Alicia Keys – just to name a few.

Jada Pinkett Smith


Kanye West


Anthony Anderson

Actor / Comedian

Alicia Keys


Volunteer Registration is now open for the 2016-2017 Season

Interested In Becoming a Mentor Or Judge?

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Our Community Partners

Because it takes a village to raise a child...


Featured Video

What's it Like to Compete at the National ACT-SO Olympics?