The Chicago Westside Branch NAACP held its annual Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) competition at the Douglas Park Field House on March 12.

Twenty high school students competed against each other in 11 different categories:

Dorjuan Alberts, Hope Prep H.S., Music Vocal/Contemporary and Classical; Christian Cheairs, Gwendolyn Brooks H.S., Dramatics; Caitlin Cherry, Lane Tech H.S., Drawing; Philip Craig, Gwendolyn Brooks H.S., Original Essay, Playwriting and Entrepreneurship; Loren Davis-Stroud, Whitney Young H.S., Original Essay, Poetry and Drawing; Samuel Dew, Whitney Young H.S., Music Vocal/Contemporary and Classical; Dance; Tamieka Hardy, Kenwood Academy, Poetry and Photography; RaSheila Harmon, Gwendolyn Brooks H.S., Photography; Monique Hickman, Dunbar H.S., Dance; Olivia Jones, Kenwood Academy, Dance; Melanie Lucas, Whitney Young H.S., Music Vocal/ Contemporary and Poetry; Amanda McLaughlin, Howard H.S., Music Vocal/Contemporary; Taylor Moore, Kenwood Academy, Music Vocal/Contemporary, Dramatics and Poetry; Alexander Smith, Whitney Young H.S., Drawing and Painting; Theron Thomas, Steinmetz H.S., Drawing and Painting; Kevah Van Allen, Thornridge H.S., Music Vocal/Contemporary; Danielle Warren, Dunbar H.S., Dance; Kelley Williams, Evanston Township, Entrepreneurship; Lawrence Williams, Lincoln Park H.S., Music Vocal/Contemporary and Classical; Raynard Woods, Prosser H.S., Music Vocal/Contemporary.

The winners will be announced at the Chicago Westside Branch NAACP ACT-SO Award Program that will be held on May 14, 2005 at Homan Square Community Center.

Gold Medalists will represent the Chicago Westside Branch NAACP in Milwaukee, Wis. at the National ACT-SO competition, July 7-10. At the national competition, youth compete for awards and scholarships totaling over $50,000.

The ACT-SO Program serves to identify students with unique talents, allows them to test their skills against other competitors, and win or lose, to learn from the coaches and others who help them make the most of their work. Beyond the competitive event, the ACT-SO Program promotes positive self-esteem, academic and artistic excellence, positive interaction between our youth and the adult professional community and encourages more African-American youth to pursue higher education.

We would also like to thank the following individuals who volunteered their time and energy to judge our ACT-SO competitors: Denoris Mays, Dr. Wrenetha Julion, Makaiba Musa, Stephanie Hosea, Britt Burwell, Helen Aavik, Areto Imoukhuede, Courtney Thurmond, Phyllis Logan, Shreeta Stevens, Candice Nolan, Clarence Welton, Rashada Dawan, Yolanda Ricks, Kamaran Madison, Charlotte Rutledge, Jerome Davis, Patrick Thompson, Kenneth Ray, Bonita Roy, Walter Perkins III, Eugene Madison, Anita (AJ) Jones and Kevin Shine who also donated some DJ equipment so the background music for the Vocal Competition could be heard.

Chicago Westside Branch NAACP members: Vera G. Davis (branch president), David Askew (master of ceremonies), Deborah Williams, Gwendolyn Burrell, and Carolyn Hankins-Page (co-chairperson) made the event run smoothly.

If you would like to lend your support by being a mentor/coach please contact the Chicago Westside Branch NAACP office at 773/261-5890 or the ACT-SO Chairperson Steven Page at 312/437-3732.