Three Trenton-area students are heading to Detroit, Michigan, to compete in the National ACT-SO competition July 18 to 21.

After giving stellar performances on April 6, Brianna Roberts, Mekhi Townsend and Jasmin Livingston won gold medals in the New Jersey NAACP Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics competition.

“ACT-SO has helped me with my confidence in developing my craft,” said Roberts who competed in the Musical Vocal category and sang in Italian. “As a vocalist it is hard to stand out and be appreciated as a person of color without being a typical R&B singer.”

The New Jersey NAACP Branch will be paying for the lodging for the students for the competition. The Trenton NAACP chapter started a GoFundMe page to help with additional travel-related expenses.

“We are hoping to raise the funds to send our best and brightest students to the national competition,” Trenton NAACP Chapter President Jonette Smart said. “Each year they show how talented the students in the Trenton and surrounding areas are and continue to be.”

ACT-SO encourages local high school students to develop their talents in STEAM. This year’s competing students are from Trenton, Ewing, Hamilton, Burlington and Bucks Counties. State goal medalists Roberts and Townsend are students at Ewing High School; Livingston attends Northern Burlington County Regional High School.

“ACT-SO has provided so many opportunities to help me develop not only as a scholar, but a leader,” Townsend said. “It’s given me a space where young, black students can come together and compete yearly, pushing one another to become the best version of themselves.”

ACT-SO is a student enrichment program that culminates in local and national competition where students compete with other students in various categories for awards and prizes totaling over $100,000. 

To contribute toward the fundraiser, visit

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