ACT-SO This Way To Success

Dr Rita Bailey, cochair of the Georgia state ACT-SO, talks about what’s ahead for the participants that will have a chance to compete in the national “Olympics of the mind”.  Vernon Jordan, former president of the National Urban League, conceived of the idea to have a competition between talented students in more than sports. This idea developed into a chance for talented high school students to compete in 33 categories.

Teresa Hardy, NAACP Dekalb President

Participants and family members attend a NAACP ACT-SO workshop at Voices of Faith Church. NAACP Dekalb President Teresa Hardy welcomed the participants to the event. ACT-SO is Afro Academic Cultural Technical and Scientific Olympics. This national event was started by Vernon Jordan and called the Olympics of the mind.

Freda Hammonds, Chair and mentor for ACT-SO

The ACT-SO national competition has 33 categories that students can participate. The broad categories are STEM, HUMANITIES, PERFORMING ARTS, VISUAL ARTS, BUSINESS, and CULINARY. Freda Hammonds is the chair and lead mentor for the NAACP Dekalb County Branch’s ACT-SO program. You can contact her for more information at

The goals of ACT-SO are:

  • To mobilize the adult community for the promotion of academic and artistic excellence.
  • To recognize creative talent and academic achievement.
  • To provide and assist students with the necessary skills to establish goals and acquire the confidence and training to make a successful contribution to society.


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