Become a General Volunteer

Once you see the talent of the kids that get involved with ACT-SO, you will be moved, inspired, and motivated to help. The difference you can make by supporting their endeavors is substantial. You might even awaken – or reawaken – your own passion for the area of study or expertise. From coaching and mentoring to helping with various aspects of the competition, stepping up as an ACT-SO Volunteer means putting the youth in our community in the spotlight and giving them every chance to shine.

Become a Coach/Mentor

The students need help to achieve excellence in their respective competition categories. When you volunteer as a coach or mentor, your role is to provide support and guidance for the student in the following ways:

  1. Understanding the ACT-SO Category Guidelines for the category they have selected. Each of the categories has specific rules. They can receive a maximum score of 100%.
  2. Emphasizing the importance of doing research to improve their project, practicing every day, preparing for the competition, and goal setting in order to achieve excellence.
  3. Providing inspiration and motivation whenever possible.
  4. Giving constructive feedback and guidance. Verbal feedback is important but also provide written feedback. This enables you to track and closely monitor their project and gives them a takeaway from each coaching session.
  5. Meeting with the student weekly or as needed through the competition date.  It can virtual, via email, facetime, or text. In person meetings must be at a parent-approved public meeting space.
  6. Providing updates to the Teacher, Parent, or ACT-Chair of the student’s progress/issues on a regular basis. Identify to either any obstacles or additional resources that the student may need in order to succeed.

Become a Door Monitor (Competition Volunteer)

The door monitor must be assertive, organized, and possess good customer service and communication skills. The duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  1. Managing traffic in and out of competition site
  2. Communicating plan for managing traffic, in and out of the room, to the audience
  3. Maintaining crowd and noise control
  4. Posting contestant numbers during competition
  5. Assisting Room Facilitators in meeting the judges needs (i.e. water, copies, pencils, etc.)
  6. Assisting Room facilitators in collecting judges’ scores sheets and preparing student evaluations for distribution
  7. Performing such other related duties that may be requested by the Room Facilitator or ACT-SO Chairperson

In addition, the door monitor should not permit anyone to enter or exit the room while a student is performing or meeting with the judges for a personal interview. They must also maintain crowd and noise control.

We ask that you remain until the competition for your category is over.

Become a Room Facilitator (Competition Volunteer)

This position requires an individual who is assertive, organized, and possesses leadership, customer service, communication and problem solving skills. The duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Managing and overseeing activities in respective competition category
  2. Hosting participants, judges, and observers
  3. Maintaining crowd control
  4. Communicating judging procedures to audience
  5. Communicating procedures and special instructions to contestants before judging
  6. Preparing contestants music for competition
  7. Keeping and reporting contestant time to judges
  8. Assuring that judges’ needs are met (i.e. copies, pencils, water, etc.)
  9. Collecting judge score sheets during breaks and at the end of the competition
  10. Compiling, sorting and preparing student evaluations for distribution
  11. Performing such other duties that may be requested by the ACT-SO Chairperson

In addition, the room facilitator should open the competition by introducing the judges and stating the rules for managing the competition room. The room facilitator should also call students’ competition numbers. If a number is called for a student competing in another category, you should return to them after the last contestant if they miss their place.

The room facilitator should keep time for each contestant in a timed category (i.e. oratory, music vocal/classical, etc.).

We ask that you remain until the competition for your category is over.

Become a Judge (Competition Volunteer)

Criteria for Selecting Judges

  • Judges must not have any contact with or be any relation to students who may be competing in the category they are judging.
  • ACT-SO judges are required to be degreed professionals or employed in the category that they are judging. Junior College or College Professors, professional architects, engineers, journalists, actors, painters, etc. are good candidates. Judges cannot be coaches, mentors, teachers or parents of students competing.
  • The same set of judges can judge relative categories if they are qualified, i.e., drawing and painting.
  • Prior to or during the competition, judges are not to instruct, advise or discuss scores with contestants relative to their performance/presentation.

Judging procedures

  • Each judge should have a folder with the following contents:
    • One score sheet that lists all student’s names in the category
    • An evaluation form for each student in the category
    • Pencil and pen for each judge.  (Score sheets should be completed in pencil; evaluation forms should be completed in ink.)
  • Each category will have three or more judges.
  • Judges score sheets must be kept confidential.  The ACT-SO Chairperson should file and secure all score sheets and writs for your records.
  • Personal interviews are conducted for the Humanities, Science and Visual Arts Competitions. The Performing Arts competitors do not receive individual interviews during the competition.
  • Judges should complete an evaluation form for the student before they go on to the next contestant. Once completed, the evaluations should be folded in half and stapled with only the student’s name/competition number visible.
  • Once all of the candidates have been judged, tabulate all scores on each judge’s sheet.  One judge will be responsible for entering all the scores on the tally sheet and total across for each student. Once the total score per contestant has been determined by adding all judges’ final scores together, the jurists will take the average to determine the gold, silver and bronze medallists.
  • The room facilitator or an auditor should be available to confirm the judges’ totals.  Once the numbers are approved and a list of winners identified by the judges, the judges should sign a verification writ identifying their first, second and third place winners. This must be done prior to the announcement of the winners. In most instances the winners are announced at a separate Awards Ceremony event.
  • The judges score sheets and verification writs should be kept confidential and placed in a sealed envelope and handed to the room facilitator who will in turn submit them to the ACT-SO Chairperson or a designee.
  • In order for the top three finishers in an ACT-SO competition category to medal Gold, Silver, and Bronze,  the average score conferred by category judges for these students must be minimally 95, 90, and 85, respectively.
  • A Judge’s scores count only if the judge scores every contestant in a category.
  • Judges may not judge nationally in the same year and in the same category of a student they judged in ACT-SO Cincinnati.
  • Judges should not discuss scores with contestants.