DuPage County ACT-SO Gold Winners Advance to National Competition

Updated 4/26/2016 4:38 PM

Twelve students were awarded gold medals in 14 categories at this year's DuPage ACT-SO Awards. The students will move on to compete at the 38th national competition in Cincinnati in July.

Altogether, 32 students representing 21 area high schools placed in the DuPage County ACT-SO Local Competition held Saturday, March 19, at College of DuPage in the areas of 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. The program features three components: mentoring, academic enrichment and a local competition.

"Our ACT-SO student Olympians continue to amaze us with their incredible intellects and talent," said Chairperson of the DuPage County ACT-SO program Dorletta Payton. "I am confident that they will continue to make us proud as they compete at the National ACT-SO Competition."

The gold medal finalists and other winners were acknowledged at the ACT-SO Awards Banquet, which was attended by more than 450 parents, ACT-SO alumni, volunteers and corporate partners, including Argonne National Laboratory, College of DuPage, Glenbard School District 87, JP Morgan Chase, McDonald's Corporation, Nicor Gas, Outerwall and the West Towns (IL) Chapter of The Links, Inc.

This year's gold medal winners include:

• Biology, Imani Porter, Neuqua Valley-9

• Chemistry, Tavis Reed, Illinois Math and Science Academy-12

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• Computer Science, Whitney Ford, Plainfield East-10

• Drawing, Amirah Yessoufou, Fourteen-10

• Filmmaking, Gabrielle Henderson, Downers Grove South-12

• Medicine and Health, Allyson Amegashie, Neuqua Valley-9

• Music Composition, Gabrielle Henderson, Downers Grove South-12

• Music Instrumental Classical, Khanya Collier, Waubonsie Valley-12

• Music: Vocal Contemporary, Riziki Covington, Neuqua Valley-10

• Oratory, Chloe Docks, South Elgin-10

• Painting, Kira Thomas, Metea Valley-11

• Photography, Daja Brown, Plainfield East-12

• Physics, Jalen Crump, Air Force Academy-11

• Poetry, Whitney Ford, Plainfield East-10


The event also included a junior division category aimed at middle school students. Jr. ACT-SO focuses on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects and careers, and challenges students to work in teams to identify and solve a real-world problem. Winners of Jr. ACT-SO's March 5th competition were announced at the 2016 DuPage County ACT-SO Awards Banquet.

DuPage County ACT-SO is a program of the DuPage County Branch of the NAACP and is sponsored by College of DuPage and the DuPage Regional Office of Education. The national ACT-SO program has helped nearly 300,000 young people in 200+ communities across the country, open new doors to learning and define career paths since its inception 38 years ago.

Pictured: Front row (left to right): Tavis Reed, Illinois Math and Science Academy; Allyson Amegashie, Neuqua Valley; Khanya Collier, Waubonsie Valley; Kira Thomas, Metea Valley; Riziki Covington, Neuqua Valley; Daja Brown, Plainfield East; Jalen Crump, Air Force Academy; Imani Porter, Neuqua Valley; Chloe Docks, South Elgin; Whitney Ford, Plainfield East; Gabrielle Henderson, Downers Grove South. (Photo Courtesy of DuPage ACT-SO)