naacp_web.jpgMIAMI — The Miami-Dade Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) will hold its annual Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) high school academic competition from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, and Saturday, Feb. 25, at Booker T. Washington High School, 1200 N.W. Sixth Ave. in Miami’s Overtown community.

ACT-SO is a national program of the NAACP that the late Vernon Jarrett, syndicated columnist and journalist, created. He saw it as a way to promote academic achievement and recognize excellence among students of African descent.

The competition, also known as the “Olympics of the Mind,” brings together talented youths in grades 9-12 to vie against one another in 26 categories in the sciences, humanities, performing arts, visual arts and business.

Winners receive gold, silver and bronze medals in each category; gold winners participate in a statewide showcase of medalists and compete for scholarships and/or monetary awards in the national finals at the site of the NAACP National Convention which takes place this year on July 3-8 in Houston, Texas.

To encourage greater participation among Miami-Dade students,  ACT-SO has been divided into two competition groupings or modules.  Competition in Module I, comprising Visual Arts, Performing Arts and Music Composition, will take place Feb. 11.

Module II, comprising Architecture, Science, Human-ities, Business and Oratory, will take place  Feb. 25.

The Miami-Dade ACT-SO competition was launched in 1978 and Booker T. Washington High has been the venue for 22 years.

Since the inception, Miami-Dade students have garnered more than 80 national medals. Twenty-three Miami-Dade medalists qualified for the 2011 national competition in Los Angeles and three 11th graders went on to win medals. Ashley Ann Ramsey and Candice Dawson, both of Coral Reef High, won gold in dance and bronze in classical vocal, respectively, and James Jackson of Miami Jackson High won bronze in architecture.

Under the leadership of the program’s longtime chairwoman Doris Hart, Miami-Dade’s ACT-SO Committee created and hosts a special Junior ACT-SO Competition in Science, Humanities and Visual Arts. This contest takes place simultaneously with the ACT-SO competition.

Guidelines for student participation and registration have been distributed to high school and middle school principals, activities directors, CAP advisors, department heads and other liaison and contact persons.

Guidelines and applications for participation are available at For more information call 305-685-9436, e-mail or call the Miami-Dade NAACP office at 305-685-8694.