HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — There’s a program in the Midstate that is challenging young people to reach for the stars when it comes to their futures, helping to create strong leaders.

The Greater Harrisburg Area NAACP takes part in the national ACT-SO program showcasing excellence. “A great opportunity to have a program, a national program administered through the local branches in order to have a competition every year,” Kabba Brunson said.

ACT SO, also known as Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics, provides a way for 9th through 12th-grade students to demonstrate academic, artistic, scientific skills, and more. Pa. Cyber School senior Madison Stokes has a passion for science. She entered the medicine and health category sending out health surveys to high school students.

“Just this last year, I looked at the effect sleep has on a student’s GPA. I am passionate about helping my school community and beyond through my science projects,” Stokes said.

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Central Dauphin East senior Lunden McClain competes in singing and poetry. “It’s so cathartic to just write about things that matter to me and talk about topics that I know matter to other people and it’s extremely entertaining and interesting to see everybody in their own categories and thrive in those categories,” McClain said.

Both McClain and Stokes won awards for their past entries. Madison will take part in the national competition this year.