Euphoria. Excitement. Anxiety.

AaronAaron Ford Ford is an eleventh grade student at Westwood High School in Blythewood, South Carolina. He was initially attracted to the ACT-SO program because it provided him with the long awaited opportunity to further develop his talents and showcase his craft. Aaron was a gold medalist in the Short Story category of the 2017 local Columbia ACT-SO competition with his award-winning piece titled, The Brave Soul’s Burden. Due to his accomplishments at the local competition, Aaron has advanced to compete at the national ACT-SO competition this year in Baltimore, Maryland!

Three Words to Describe Feelings about National Competition

Euphoria, excitement, and anxiety. Aaron was beyond happy to hear his name called as the recipient of a gold medal at the 2017 local Columbia ACT-SO competition. This was something that he really wanted, and it was encouraging to know that his story was considered good enough to advance to the national level. Aaron is still excited to have been given this amazing opportunity. He loves the thought of traveling to Baltimore and immersing himself in the historic sites of the city and meeting great, new people. However, he is a bit anxious. Aaron has many unanswered questions that cause him to have some anxiety about competing at nationals: Who else will be competing nationally? What will Baltimore be like? How will my overall experience be? Although he has many nerve-wrecking curiosities, Aaron is not alone, as most first-time national competitors are experiencing similar, if not the same, emotions. He does believe that once he arrives at the national ACT-SO competition, he will enjoy his time and is looking forward to it.

Nerves & Excitement

Aaron is most nervous about the atmosphere of the national competition. He knows that it will be much more competitive than the local competition in Columbia, South Carolina. He feels that the competition in Baltimore will have a tenser atmosphere because he will be competing against students who are the best in their region. Despite his uneasiness, Aaron is looking forward to meeting new people at the national competition. He is eager to converse with other competitors in the same, or similar, category as himself, so that he can get to know them and gain more insight into their unique crafts and creative decisions. He is also excited to examine, analyze and appreciate the projects of competitors all around the world: “Having other people from all over the country, [who are] my age, come to a place where they can share their creations is absolutely amazing.” Most of all, Aaron hopes to gain memories and experiences that will resonate with him his entire life… and, of course, he’d love to grab a gold medal on his way out, too!


“Go in open minded, but stay focused. If you’re not dedicated, you won’t make it. Be serious about your work, but have fun too. If you’re just focused on how to impress the judges, then you might as well not join. This is about what YOU have to offer, not what they want to see. Just do you and hope [that] they like it.” – Aaron Ford

We wish you the best of luck, Aaron, in the 2017 national ACT-SO competition!


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