LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., August 7, 2008 – Approximately 800 high school students from across the country revealed their magical talent at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort recently competing in the 30th anniversary of ACT-SO (Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics) – the NAACP’s pioneering youth enrichment program.
Tichina Arnold and Terry Crews of “Everybody Hates Chris” presented students gold, silver and bronze medals in 26 categories of sciences, humanities, business, performance and visual arts. The five-day national competition, sponsored in part by Walt Disney World, included entries in music composition, dance, entrepreneurship, chemistry, biology, original essay, dramatics, drawing, computer science, playwriting, filmmaking, earth and space sciences and poetry.
Jasmine Holmes, 16, competed in the arts category with her abstract painting. Holmes, of Tallahassee, Fla., said the competition provided opportunities for her to meet new people and ignite her passion for the arts. “The judges’ feedback and workshops inspire me to set new goals for myself,” she said.
Students also participated in Magic Kingdom’s Main Street U.S.A. parade and attended workshops and panels with Disney Cast Members, ACT-SO alumni along with business and community leaders. To celebrate the occasion, Keke Palmer of “Akeelah and the Bee” joined other celebrities to recognize the students’ achievements.
ACT-SO is a yearlong program designed to recruit, stimulate, improve and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among African-American high school students. Approximately 261,000 students have participated in ACT-SO, and more than $354,000 in awards and scholarships have been distributed.