DuPage County ACT-SO Winners Advance to National Competition

By Angie Thomas, DuPage NAACP

Students representing 25 area high schools placed in the DuPage County ACT-SO competition held Saturday at the College of DuPage.  More than 60 youth competed for top honors in Science, Business, Humanities, Performing Arts, and Visual Arts categories.  ACT-SO - the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics - is a year-long enrichment program designed to encourage high academic and cultural achievement among African American high school students. Click here for photos from this event. 

"Every year, our students work extremely hard to expand their knowledge and develop their talents," said Dorletta Payton, Chairperson of the DuPage County ACT-SO program.  "We're so proud of everybody and look forward to supporting those who will compete on the national level."

Students who placed were announced at an awards banquet held on Sunday, March 17, with more than 400 people in attendance.  The twelve students that were awarded gold medals include:

  • Kalin Reed - Oswego East HS - 12th, Architecture
  • Kayla Bell - Metea Valley HS - 9th, Dance
  • Jordan Henderson - Bolingbrook HS - 11th, Dramatics
  • E'LaShae Scott - Naperville North HS - 12th, Drawing
  • Samuel Sentongo - Providence St. Mel - 12th, Earth and Space Sciences
  • Justin Payton - Bolingbrook HS - 10th, Entrepreneurship
  • Tavis Reed - Oswego East HS - 9th, Music Composition    
  • Kendel Baker - Oswego East HS - 9th, Music Instrumental Classical
  • Gustav Linner - West Aurora HS - 10th, Music Instrumental Contemporary
  • Sharad Crosby - Naperville North HS - 11th, Original Essay
  • Curissa Smith - Walther Lutheran - 11th, Photography
  • Najera Rogers - Naperville Central HS - 12th, Poetry


A program of the NAACP, ACT-SO has helped more than 260,000 young people in 200+ communities across the country open new doors to learning and define career paths, since its inception more than 30 years ago. The program features three components: mentoring, academic enrichment, and a local competition. 

The DuPage County ACT-SO chapter is one of the most competitive in the country, having had national medal winners 12 out of the past 14 years.  The NAACP National ACT-SO competition is held annually in July.  This year's event will take place in Orlando, Fla.

"We truly appreciate our mentors, partner schools, sponsors, judges, and parents who support ACT-SO," Payton said.  "It takes everyone playing their part to make this program a success."

DuPage County ACT-SO is a program of the DuPage County Branch of the NAACP and is sponsored by the College of DuPage and the DuPage Regional Office of Education.  For more information on the 2013 ACT-SO winners or to learn how to get involved with the program visit www.dupageact-so.org or call (331) 462-2876.

About the DuPage County Branch NAACP
Founded in 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

The DuPage County Branch of the NAACP has been active in the County and surrounding areas including Will, Kendall and Kane Counties for more than 50 years, since it was chartered in November 1956. The Branch has grown to the second largest in the state of Illinois, raised significant funding for the Syd Finley Memorial Scholarship, and produced several National Medalists from the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) competition.