Four DHS Students Achieve Gold Medals in Local

NAACP ACT-SO Competition & Advance to Nationals

DUARTE, CA, May 1, 2012 – Four students from Duarte High School will advance to the NAACP’s national (ACT-SO) Afro Academic Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics for African-American youth after winning gold medals in the local ACT-SO competition presented by the Pasadena Branch of the NAACP.


ACT-SO, founded in 1978 by renowned author and journalist Vernon Jarrett, is an enrichment program designed to recruit, stimulate, improve and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among African-American high school students. There are 25 categories of competition in the sciences, humanities, performing and visual arts.


A total of 18 students, 17 from Duarte High School and one student from Monrovia High School competed in the local competition held at the Duarte Senior Center on April 28. Gold Medal winners were: Tylen Kelly, Oratory,  Dominique Rogers, Original Essay; Abryanna Howard, Dramatics; and Phillip Glover, Music Vocal Contemporary. The four gold medalists will travel to Houston, Texas to compete in the Nationals to be held on July 6 in conjunction with the 103rd NAACP Convention.


Chrystiana Howard of Duarte High School was awarded a Silver Medal in the Music Vocal Contemporary category, while Nasha Ervin of Duarte High School won a Silver Medal for Dramatics. Six other Duarte High School students came away from the competition with Bronze Awards. They are Cea Lynch, Computer Science; Essence Berry, Dance; Rhena Kelly, Photography; and Taylor Shelton winning Bronze in both the  Poetry and Filmmaking categories, and Deanna Armstead, Music Instrumental/Contemporary. Other categories of competition included Drawing, Medicine, and Health.


Duarte Teen Center Director, Marilyn Mays, who once served as president and executive administrator of the NAACP in Eugene, Oregon where she oversaw the ACT-SO program for eight years, served as chair the Pasadena NAACP’s ACT-SO competition. Duarte Deputy City Manager, Karen Herrera, Duarte Public Safety Crime Prevention Specialist, Aida Torres and former Duarte Mayor, Lois Gaston served as co-chairs.


The ACT-SO program is intended to be a learning experience. The focus is on enrichment and mentorship. Students work with ACT-SO volunteer mentors who are professionals in their field who serve as coaches in promoting academic and artistic excellence among African-American youth. High school students of African American descent, who are citizens of the United States, enrolled in grades 9-12 and are amateurs in the categories of competition are invited to participate.

Famous ACT-SO alumni in the performing arts include John Singleton, Kanye West, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Roy Hargrove, Michael Bard, and Anthony Anderson.



February 29, 2012 –

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