From Left to Right: Jacqueline Millender - Dance, Kaitlynn Andrews - Filmmaking, Konise Millender - San Antonio ACT-SO Director, Maya Herring - Instrumental Music/ Classical (Piano), Katlyn Powell - Painting 2nd picture (absent from group picture): Kenya Thomas - Biology/Microbiology
The NAACP 2018 Convention is here...tens of thousands of Black people from across the world will be in San Antonio, Texas. This picture will fulfill the dream and legacy of our past NAACP First Lady, the late Minnie Hill, complete the advocacy of her husband President Oliver Hill, and recognize the accomplishment and national draw of then Mayor Ivy Taylor and all the volunteers of NAACP San Antonio Branch. Congratulations to the San Antonio NAACP for attracting one of the largest African American organizations to the center stage of the Alamo City.
This convention is happening as the City of San Antonio celebrates 300-years, the San
Antonio NAACP is celebrating their historic 100-year Anniversary and the NAACP's ACT-SO is celebrating 40 years. For many readers, ACT-SO is drawing a blank. So what is ACT-SO? It stands for the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics. ACT-SO is the academic youth olympics for the NAACP and showcases the talent of children of African decent. ACT-SO includes 32 competitions in STEM, humanities, business, and performing, visual and culinary arts. Almost 300,000 young people have participated from the program since its inception.
The director the San Antonio ACT-SO is Konise Millender. Mrs Millender is a former ACT-SO competitor who returned to lead her branch NAACP Olympians to victory. Millender, commented to News 4 Darian Trotter, "I returned to provide the young people the confidence to take on any task and to do it with excellence."
Katlyn Powell, is competing in her third NAACP ACT-SO event. Her last competition was in Baltimore, and now she can display her artistic talents in her home city of San Antonio. Her mother, Angelina says, "My daughter has participated on ACT-SO program for 3-years now. The experience has exposed her to engage with other children who are passionate about their love for the arts. I am so proud of her and all her accomplishments and look forward to see what more her journey of life has to offer."
Kaitlynn Andrews is competing in filmmaking. Her mother Belinda says, "I'm so proud of my daughter and her accomplishment of receiving a state Gold Medal in Filmmaking and now even more mind blowing that she's going to Nationals to compete against other medalist from other states. This is Kaitlynn's first year in cinema (filmmaking) and she just loves it. She sis striving to be a screenwriter. She will be attending a script to screen camp at Austin Film Festival in a couple of weeks. I'm just so happy for her and that she has found her passion in life at an early age. She is so blessed that she has found it."
Mr. Hill, Branch President said, "I am proud of our director, Mrs. Millender, and I hope that the community will come out to support San Antonio's young people who are going to compete. ACT-SO is open to the public. This is a rare opportunity all of San Antonio should try to support." The NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) is a yearlong achievement program designed to recruit, stimulate, and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among African-American high school students.
Maya Herring is competing in classical piano, performing 'Enchanted Gardens' by Dennis Alexander. Maya's mother Jacqueline said about her daughter's first NAACP competition, "the ACT-SO is a great opportunity for our children to showcase their talents in a competitive environment that serves to sharpen their gifts and skills. It is also giving them a great life experience to spend a week with their peers in a healthy positive environment. Participation serves to encourage, nurture, and help refine all of their artistic and communication skills that are important in life. Our entire family feels especially blessed that Maya was afforded the opportunity to compete at the state level and now at the national level. We've watched her smile from ear-to-ear and grow and mature from her fellow ACT-SO team members and the rigorous programming. We are cheering for Maya and the entire ACT-SO San Antonio Team!"
For over forty years the mission of ACT-SO has been to prepare, recognize and reward youth of African descent who exemplify scholastic and artistic excellence.
National Director, NAAACP ACT-SO, Larry Brown Jr states, "It is my sincerest hope that every ACT-SO participant takes risks in the safe, creative and nurturing space ACT-SO provides. Additionally, I urge everyone to engage multiple generations around the achievement and success of ACT-SO participants. Chart your course. Share your story. Change the world."
Buy your pass to see the many talented performances as a part of the 109th NAACP National Convention. You will be encouraged by the future of our Black youth! See their performances on www.saobserver.com.