Chattanooga-Hamilton County NAACP 2023 ACT-SO Medal Winners Recognized

Pictured from (L) to (R) Maurquez Thompson, Orion Weaver, J’Tory Matthews and Madison Angel.

The Chattanooga Hamilton County Branch (Unit 5581) of the NAACP recognized the medal winners of its Annual ACT-SO (Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological. Scientific, Olympics) during an Awards Ceremony on Sat., April 15.

Sponsored by the national board of the NAACP, ACT-SO is a year-long enrichment program designed to recruit, stimulate and encourage academic and cultural achievement among high school students.

As a part of the year-long enrichment program, ACT-SO and Upward Bound Math Science students participate in Saturday morning workshops on public speaking, communication, time management and networking skills.

The goals of the ACT-SO program are to: mobilize the adult community for the promotion of academic and artistic excellence; to recognize creative talent and academic achievement; and to provide and assist students with the necessary skills to establish goals and acquire the confidence and training to make a successful contribution to society.

For over 40 years the mission of ACT-SO has been to recognize and reward youth of African descent who exemplify artistic excellence.

The ACT-SO competition now offers 34 categories of academic excellence and performing arts. Gold Medalists will receive an all-expenses paid trip to the NAACP’S 46th Annual National ACT-SO Competition in Boston in July.

Chattanooga’s ACT-SO 2023 Medalists (their Category and High School) include:

J’Tory Matthews, Drawing, Gold Medal, Center for Creative Arts (CCA)

Maurquez Thompson, Original Essay, Gold Medal, Brainerd High School

Orion Weaver, Instrumental Contemporary, Gold Medal, CCA

Madison Angel, Vocal Contemporary, Silver Medal, CCA

Chloie Marshall, Drawing, Bronze Medal, STEM School of Chattanooga

The Rev. Ann Jones Pierre, Chattanooga Hamilton County NAACP Branch President says, “We have so many talented young people in our area that only need a little support. ACT-SO is the conduit to give the young people an alternative to life choices, so we are grateful to the ACT-SO committee, parents and students for their work and support.”

Pamela Shropshire, local ACT-SO judge says, “I joyfully set aside time every spring for the Afro Academic, Cultural, Technological, and Scientific Olympics. Participating is a critical investment in our youth to reinforce the importance of scholastic and artistic achievement. This program allows our youth to showcase talents and skills that may otherwise go unnoticed. It offers them an opportunity for enrichment and feedback specific to their passion. There’s also the added benefit of learning how to receive feedback, how to implement feedback with grace and humility, and how to celebrate others’ success. Every year of participation, I have been privileged to witness the growth, innovation, creativity and bravery of these young people.”

Chattanooga ACT-SO has made a difference by providing a positive environment for our youth. This year’s theme was “EmPOWER Our Youth.”

We invite current high school students and rising 9th graders who may have an interest in ACT-SO to visit our website at, and fill out the interest form. Business professionals are also encouraged to contact us to partner as a competition judge, or to mentor students.