On July 21, 2019, the Altadena Branch of the NAACP ACT-SO (Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics of the Mind) won two National Medals in Detroit, MI, at the 110th NAACP National convention.
ACT-SO, a National Youth Initiative of the NAACP, is a yearlong enrichment program sponsored by branches of the NAACP in various communities throughout the nation. ACT-SO is designed to recruit, stimulate, improve and encourage high academic and artistic achievement, and cultural awareness in 9th through 12th grade high school students.
Each ACT-SO participant who is awarded a gold medal at the local competition level qualiﬁes to compete in the national ﬁnals. The national ﬁ nals are held each summer in conjunction with the NAACP National Convention, in cities throughout the USA. This year the competition was held in Detroit, next year it will be in Boston MA.
The Altadena, ACT-SO has competed consistently, since 1997 and has won 38 National Medals ranging from bronze to gold during that period. This year, the Altadena ACT-SO sent 7 local students to compete with nearly 800 students, from different communities, in 9 of the 32 categories.
Akira Sky competed in Music Composition and Filmmaking. She won a National Gold Medal for her composition entitled “Torn”. The judges loved her message which haunts so many youth as they develop into adult hood. Youth are torn as to the path to take in life. They want to be free but understand that temptations and pitfalls await them. The strength of the message, the compelling and beautiful but mysterious melody draws the listener in and leaves them, wanting more. (visit YouTube at Akira Sky Torn to see her music video.)
Oge Ogbogu competed in Health and Science and Short Story. She received a National Silver Medal in the Short Story category for her work in deconstructing the struggles of dual identity and mixed heritage that a young boy endures. Nicolas Miller a middle school youth is in the court room while the judge decides, who will gain custody of “his body, his mind, his choice, his identity” his Mexican born mother or his American father.
Also, representing the Altadena ACT-SO Branch, at the National Competition in Detroit with outstanding performances and insightful and intellectual projects were; Emily Cattouse-Painting; Mayumi Rhone- Modern Dance; Ayiana Saunders- Newton-Original Essay; Michael Wilkins -Oratory; Auri Chisholm-Vocal Contemporary.
The National Medals are awarded during an Olympic style ceremony. This year, the mistress and masters of ceremonies was Laya Deleon Hayes (Disney’s Doc Mc Stufﬁns, Kung Kung Fu Panda & Grey’s Anatomy) and Tequan Richmond (Everyone Hates Chris). Miles Brown, the male twin from the TV series, Blackish announced winners in the performing arts category and delivered a special poem to all the ACT-SO participants. The ceremony was interspersed with amazing Broadway style and quality performances by the student competitors.
Altadena ACT-SO highlights one of its outstanding participants. Emily Cattouse, a John Muir High School graduate, who has been accepted to the University of California Los Angeles with a scholarship, majoring in art.
For more information about ACT-SO or if you want to get involved, please call Wilberta Richardson, Chairperson at (626).222-2189, or email to Wil10low@aol.com