Palm Coast student wins bronze at NAACP Olympics

One Flagler County high school student brought home a medal from the NAACP’s 34th annual Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) in Houston.

The July 8 awards ceremony capped months of local competitions and students competing in 26 categories ranging from performing arts and music to mathematics, biology and business.

Palm Coast competitor Xavier Ryan won the bronze medal in photography.

In the first row at the ACT-SO Awards in Houston are Rashod Cooks, Dominic Davis  and Geraldine Simon. In the second row are Stephanie Ecklin, Bryan Dieuidonne, Xavier Ryan, Derric Wheelis, Brandon Rodriguez and Shekinah Maybin. (COURTESY OF FLAGLER COUNTY NAACP)

“This experience was extremely exciting and gratifying for me and the eight Flagler County students in attendance,” says local ACT-SO Director Stephanie Ecklin. “We were privileged with the opportunity to network with some of the most brilliant African-American young men and women who are on their way to Harvard, Yale, Morehouse and other great U.S. universities.

“The beauty of this competition is that it gives young, talented students something to work towards and keeps them focused. Not only does the project help them prepare for the competition, but it helps to shape their thinking about new possibilities. To this end, we have to thank our sponsors for making all of this possible.”

The sponsors included Mr. and Mrs. James Griffin, Accord Insurance, Flagler County Youth Center, OVT Teen Magazine, Coquina Bowling Lanes, Palm Coast BBQ, the Make It Take It Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Whiting, Ancient City Temple #63, and others providing financial and in-kind donations.

Celebrities at event
From July 5-8, local gold medalists, ACT-SO directors, youth observers and supporters convened in Houston for the national competition.

Winners received gold, silver and bronze medals during the awards ceremony hosted by actor Anthony Anderson with appearances by actress Ashley Tamar Davis and Astro, a contestant from television’s “The X-Factor.”

The ACT-SO program centers on dedication and commitment of community volunteers and business leaders serving as mentors and coaches to promote academic and artistic excellence among African-American students.

The program was founded in 1978 by renowned author/journalist Vernon Jarrett. Previous ACT-SO contestants and winners include filmmaker John Singleton, musician Kanye West and actress Jada Pinkett Smith.

Flagler NAACP hosting candidates forum
The Flagler County NAACP will sponsor a candidates forum for supervisor of elections, county commission, school board and state representative District 24 on 5 p.m. July 24 at the African-American Cultural Society, 4422 North U.S. 1 in Palm Coast.

For more details, call NAACP First Vice President Barbara Goss at 386-569-6451.

First Church plans VBS open house
The activities at “Character Beam Up!” Vacation Bible School at First Church have made learning fun and are holding the youngsters’ attention. The “cool stuff” the kids have been making in arts and crafts will be displayed; the kids also will perform in a play.
Vacation Bible School will have open house on Friday, July 20, 10 a.m. The kids are learning “The Ten Commandments.”

The boys are learning to recite the 66 books of the Bible and Pastor Gillard Glover has made a promise of funding the boys for their excellence. Bible Study, arts and crafts, sports and liturgical dance are the curricula.

In addition, the kids have been munching on lunch prepared daily by the Women’s Missionary Society. Director Esther Hamilton is commended for her tremendous work with Vacation Bible

School, and it’s a team effort with help from all the volunteers.

First Church is at 91 Old Kings Road North in Palm Coast. The church can be reached at 386-446-5759.


As always, remember our prayers for the sick, afflicted and bereaved.



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