ACT-SO History in Cincinnati

A Legacy of Passion & Inspiration

Each year since its inception, the Cincinnati Branch has had gold medalist representation at the national ACT-SO competition. We started with 4-5 gold medalists each year. Fast forward to the current decade, in which we now have between 18-23 categories of gold medalist each year with many students receiving multiple gold medals.

ACT-SO has also grown to become more than an enrichment program that culminates into a competition. Each year we increase our partnerships, funding, and enrichment programming. Our donations have nearly tripled. We have developed strategic enrichment partnerships with local businesses and community organizations to help instill a passion for excellence in our youth. We are connecting mentoring partnerships with the local Universities.

ACT-SO’s presence is growing to reach more high schools, churches, and youth organizations. In 2016, it extended beyond individual student participation, adding it as a club offering for some high schools. In 2017 it grew to become part of a curriculum in high school as an independent study. In 2020, we developed the ACT-SO website (now part of the broader NAACP Cincinnati site) and extended our impact by offering virtual mentoring, workshops, and enrichment opportunities throughout the year. Recently, we developed mini instructional video guides for use in conjunction with the competition category guidelines.

We can conclude that the Cincinnati ACT-SO history is still being written, with improvements every day.

May 23, 2019 Cincinnati ACT-SO Award Ceremony

Lady in yellow scarf (Gloria Nelson Turnbow), standing with her arm around her is Theresa Harper

We’ve been fortunate to have two long-standing and dedicated leaders of ACT-SO  since we first initiated our Cincinnati program in 1991. Gloria Nelson Turnbow chaired the ACT-SO Committee from 1991 to 2004, and Theresa Harper served as chair from 2004 to 2021. They both left their loving mark on all of us. It is worth noting that because of their nurturing leadership, loving patience, and unshakable commitment to building up our youth, we now have many new leaders, scholars, civil rights activists, and performing artists amongst us.