Excited. Nervous. Proud.

Zion MathisZion Mathis graduated from East Saint Louis Senior High School in East Saint Louis, Illinois in June 2017. His plans for college are currently on hold; however, he intends to enroll as a student at Southwestern Illinois College in January of 2018, where he will pursue a major in Video Game Design/Movie Animation. He was initially introduced to ACT-SO by his art teacher who signed him up to join and compete in the program. He competed in the 2017 local East Saint Louis ACT-SO branch competition in the Painting category, where he won a gold medal for his Ying Yang Sun and Moon painting. Due to his accomplishments at the local competition, Zion has advanced to compete at the national competition in Baltimore, Maryland this upcoming July!

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Thrilled. Scared. Excited.

Faith LongnightFaith Longnight is a rising senior at South Eugene High School in Eugene, Oregon. She was initially introduced to ACT-SO by her brother, Simon Longnight, who competed in both the local and national ACT-SO competitions. After hearing about all of the amazing memories he created through the program, Faith could not resist the urge to try it herself. She does not regret her decision to join one bit and is thoroughly enjoying her experience thus far. She competed in the 2017 local Eugene ACT-SO branch competition in the Dance Contemporary category, where she won a gold medal for her dance piece titled, Rise Up. Due to her accomplishments at the local competition, Faith has advanced to compete at the national competition in Baltimore, Maryland this upcoming July!

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Anxious. Nervous. Excited.

Whitney Ford

Whitney Ford (fourth from left) wearing her local Dupage County ACT-SO competition medal, while standing alongside her fellow local ACT-SO winners & mentors.

Whitney Ford is a rising senior at Plainfield East High School in Plainfield, Illinois. She was originally attracted to the ACT-SO program because it was an opportunity for her to learn more about and explore her interests in the STEM field. She competed in the 2017 local Dupage County ACT-SO branch competition in the Poetry: Written and Computer Science categories. She received a silver medal in the Poetry: Written category, and she received a gold medal in the Computer Science category for her project titled, Deep Learning Methods as a Means of Identifying Gender Using Scanned Iris Images. Due to her accomplishment in the Computer Science category of the local competition, Whitney has advanced to compete at the national competition in Baltimore, Maryland this upcoming July!

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Nervous. Excited. Determined.

Lauren NapperLauren Napper is a rising senior at Sandia High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was not originally very interested in ACT-SO, and only participated in the program because her mother forced her to join. She had lost her confidence as a dancer because it became too expensive to continue with lessons, causing her to quit. She swore that she would never dance again; however, her mother believed in her more than she believed in herself. Now, she is so happy and grateful that she decided to participate in the program and has had an amazing experience thus far.

Lauren competed at the 2017 local Albuquerque ACT-SO branch competition in the Dance: Contemporary and Dance: Traditional categories. She won a gold medal in the Dance: Contemporary category for her piece titled, I’m Going Down, and she received another gold medal for her Dance: Traditional piece, which is currently unnamed. Due to her accomplishments at the local competition, Lauren has advanced to compete at the national competition in Baltimore, Maryland this upcoming July!

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Excited. Anxious. Nervous.

Kristal Grindley 2Kristal Grindley is a rising junior at Wyandanch Memorial High School in Wyandanch, New York. She was introduced to ACT-SO last year by her science teacher, who suggested to her entire class that they each participate in the program. When she joined, she was not expecting to win the competition; however, to her surprise, she proved to be quite the competitor. This year, she competed in the 2017 local Huntington ACT-SO branch competition in the Short Story category, where she won a gold medal for her short story titled, I Am Not the Stereotype. Due to her accomplishments at the local competition, Kristal has advanced to compete at the national competition in Baltimore, Maryland this upcoming July!

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Nervous. Happy. Hopeful.

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Jameria Stevenson (far left) wearing her medals at the 2017 local Kansas City ACT-SO branch competition.

Jameria Stevenson graduated from African Centered Preparatory Academy in Kansas City, Missouri in 2017. In the fall, she will attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, in New York, New York,  where she plans to study Theater Arts. She was initially attracted to the ACT-SO program because it presented her with an opportunity to perform and compete against other talented performers to earn college scholarships. Jameria was also interested in the program because it allows Black youth the be properly represented in areas in which they are often underrepresented. She competed in the 2017 local Kansas City ACT-SO branch competition in the Dramatics category, where she received a gold medal for her performance of Nat Turner’s monologue, Last Struggle. Due to her accomplishments at the local competition, Jameria has advanced to compete at the national competition in Baltimore, Maryland this upcoming July!

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Joyful. Excited. Nervous.

Jordyn Blythe.pngJordan Blythe is a rising senior at University High School in Normal, Illinois. She was originally attracted to ACT-SO because she is a very competitive person, and she enjoys showcasing her talents. She loved the program because it encourages Black youth to break stereotypes and pushes them to become the best individuals that they can be. She competed in the 2017 local Bloomington-Normal ACT-SO branch competition in two categories, Oratory and Music: Instrumental Classical. She received a gold medal in the Oratory category for her speech titled, Black Privilege, and she received another gold medal in the Music: Instrumental Classical category for her performance of Mozart’s Rondo alla Turca. Due to her accomplishments at the local competition, Jordyn has advanced to compete at the national competition in Baltimore, Maryland this upcoming July!

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Excited. Passionate. Grateful.

Tayla OliverTayla Oliver is a rising junior at Rio Ranch High School in Rio Ranch, New Mexico. She was originally attracted to the ACT-SO program because it was founded by the renowned and reputable NAACP organization. She competed in the 2017 local Albuquerque ACT-SO branch competition in the Entrepreneurship category, where she won a gold medal for her project titled, Giving Hope Inc. Due to her accomplishments at the local competition, Tayla has advanced to compete at the national competition in Baltimore, Maryland this upcoming July!

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Grateful. Excited. Joyful.

Amina Bolden

Amina Bolden (third from left) holding certificate from 2017 local ACT-SO competition.

Amina Bolden is a rising senior at Warren High School in Downey, California. She was initially introduced to the ACT-SO program by her mother. After further research, Amina decided to join because she wanted to improve her performance skills and compete against other talented singers. She competed in the 2017 local San Gabriel Valley ACT-SO branch competition in the Vocal Contemporary category, where she received a gold medal for her performance of the song, Change, by Christina Aguilera. Due to her accomplishments at the local competition, Amina has advanced to compete at the national competition in Baltimore, Maryland this upcoming July!

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Anxious. Excited. Nervous.

Sharene DoyleSharene Doyle is a recent graduate of Franklin High School in Somerset, New Jersey. She will attend Hampton University, in the fall, where she plans to study Mass Communication. She was originally introduced to the ACT-SO program by her mentor, Brandi Pinnix, who encouraged her to join, due to her extreme passion for dance. In the beginning, she competed just for fun; however, over time, to her surprise, Sharene became a phenomenal competitor. She competed in the 2017 local New Brunswick Area ACT-SO branch competition in the Contemporary Dance category , where she received a gold medal for her piece titled, Red Dust. 

Due to her accomplishments at the local competition, Sharene has advanced to compete at the national competition in Baltimore, Maryland this upcoming July!

 

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