MEMPHIS, Tenn. — ACT SO is an acronym for Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics, and this year 11 students at Millington Central High School have entered films and documentaries in the competition.
"We're always trying to give the kids opportunity to be able to grow and I think by them being in ACT SO it prepares them for the next level."
Students from Memphis area public, private and parochial schools compete in categories of science, humanities, visual arts, performing arts and film making and video.
Ryan Garcia is a junior at Millington Central High and this is his first year in film making.
"Learned about different camera types, different lenses, how to shoot, to interact with people and a whole bunch of other stuff."
He's entering a documentary on himself, sharing personal struggles and triumphs.
"It was very emotional for me to make, very hard for me to make so I don't want it to be like just another film. I want it to mean something to some people," he said.
Freshman Gena Ann Parker made a film about school shootings in our country.
"Not all kids my age think that guns are the reason that school shootings happen."
The students are encouraged to show their creativity in a positive and productive way.
"With us living in that age where kids are doing so much with social media platforms and things of that nature, they're already journalists for the most part. If they have a camera or a cell phone they're able to take pictures and do video."
Judges watch the entries intently and their decisions determine who will move on to the national competition later this year.
Gena Ann says the critiques here only make her better for the future.
"I think it's important because it does open up a lot of opportunities even at this age. And as a freshman in high school, it's a bigger opportunity because I have four more years to compete."
"It gives kids opportunity to see what is out here for them and if we can do that through radio and TV and flim making it just gives them so many opportunities."
Opportunities to see themselves doing the things some only dream are possible.