Three local high school students including two Duarte High School graduates representing the Pasadena/Duarte NAACP Branch #1054 were awarded a total of three medals: gold, silver and bronze at the recent national ACT-SO (Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological Olympics) competition, July 21 – 24 in Baltimore, MD. Since this Branch started competing in ACT-SO back in 2010, six national medals have been won for the community.
Of the delegations’ seven youth competing in eight categories, three were named national winners. Faith Earley, a Covina resident won a Gold medal in Original Essay and is slated to attend Harvard this fall. This year she wrote an essay about African-American Women in the Workforce where she analyzed stereotypes and challenged women to face racial disadvantages and find salutations. Lauryn Higginson, a Duarte High School graduate, won Silver medal in Microbiology and will attend the University of California in San Diego. Her project analyzed Invasive Aspergillosis and determined how two azole-resistant samples isolated from patients at City of Hope were resistant. Her scientific research was accomplished through the Duarte Unified School District’s partnership with City of Hope. Kalina Gittens-Jenkins, also a Duarte High School graduate received a Bronze medal for Photography. Her work inspired by her idol, Frida Khalo, demonstrated nostalgic scenes between the “two Fridas” and reminding viewers of the obstacles and challenges humans face daily and emotional healing from racially biased bullying. She has already begun her college studies at Pasadena City College.
The delegation is equally proud of the other local gold medalists who competed, Ashley Cavan, a Chino Hills High junior who competed in Business Entrepreneurship, Dylan Dillard from Monrovia, a San Dimas High graduate who competed in Poetry Performance; Chanelle Herrera a junior from Orange County's El Modena High competed in the Short Story category; and Pasadena's John Muir High School graduate Marjorie McNary, a dual-category competitor in Dramatics and Poetry Written.
Starting in Houston, TX in 2012, Dominique Rogers won the Branch’s first Silver medal in the Original Essay category. The following year, in Orlando FL, Lily Paris and Naomi Berhane were awarded Silver and Bronze medals for their achievements in Photography and Mathematics.
Marilyn Mays, serves as Chairperson, alongside Co-Chairs Aida Torres, Karen Herrera, and Lois Gaston. All of them started together and have continued to lead this effort for youth of all backgrounds. They are extremely grateful for the NAACP, Branch #1054, students, parents, mentors, judges and sponsors make this program possible.
Branch President, Delano Yarborough, salutes the 2017 participants with a special thanks to the sponsors: Wells Fargo Capital Finance, Pasadena NAACP #1054, California American Water, City of Hope, Tipping Development, Burrtec Waste Industries, The Volunteer Center of San Gabriel Valley, League of United Latin American Citizens, Duarte Kiwanis, Duarte Elks, Linda Elkaim, Lois Gaston, Lori Cox, James Hill, Sam Kang, Ken Bell, Foothill Transit and in-kind donors, Double Tree Monrovia and City of Duarte for all their support.
For additional information about the ACT-SO program, contact the Pasadena NAACP at 626 793-1293 or the Duarte Teen Canter at 626 303-0863.