ACT-SO – the Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics, is a youth program under the administrative aegis of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
ACT-SO is a yearlong enrichment program designed to encourage high academic and cultural achievement among underserved minority high school students.
ACT-SO relies on community volunteers and business leaders to serve as mentors and coaches in promoting academic and artistic excellence among African-American and Hispanic students. By providing an arena where students strive to excel in the sciences, arts and humanities, ACT-SO equips its participants with the skills to live meaningful lives.
In 1977 Vernon Jarrett of Chicago, a renowned author, civil rights activist and journalist, initiated the idea of a program that would promote and reward young academic achievers the same way sports heroes are honored. The first national ACT-SO competition was held in 1978 in Portland Oregon.
"We must never write off the potential for greatness among any of our beleaguered youth. Never!"
Vernon Jarrett, ACT-SO founder (1918 – 2004)