TCU’s NAACP chapter hosted this year’s local Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) competition on Saturday.
According to the official NAACP website, ACT-SO is an “achievement program designed to recruit, stimulate, and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among African-American high school students.”
This local competition gives African-American high school students from the Dallas-Fort Worth area an opportunity to compete in 26 different academic categories. Some of the areas include filmmaking, mathematics, poetry and different musical classifications.
While most students only entered into one category, some students competed in up to three categories.
Senior food management major Gabrielle McBay is currently a member of the TCU NAACP chapter and was this year’s ACT-SO coordinator.
“We worked with the Tarrant County NAACP and their logistics so our job here at TCU was to just get all of the rooms reserved, recruit students from some of the high schools and find judges for each category,” McBay said. “We were excited to have so many TCU professors volunteer to be judges because they can give the participants some really great feedback.”
Addison George, a junior Booker T. Washington High School student, said that the experience alone has been a great opportunity.
“Putting this much work and effort into a five minute performance has been so rewarding,” he said. “My passion is music and this just makes me want to work that much harder to go to pursue my dreams.”
Dunbar High School junior Skylar Gray also said the experience was a confidence booster.
“It was nice getting positive feedback from these experts who are amazing at what they do,” said Gray.
As a previous ACT-SO national gold medalist herself, McBay said that the event isn’t as much about winning as it is a learning experience.
“It’s great to learn from others that you are competing with or to pick up on things that they’re doing,” McBay said. “I made a lot of friends with my personal experience and met people who have helped my along the way.”
Students who won a gold medal in their category at Saturday’s competition will continue on to the national ACT-SO competition in Las Vegas.
According to the NAACP website, more than 1,200 students are expected to compete for scholarship money and other prizes. Sponsors will cover the costs of the trip for the participants.