Two sisters and students at Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy recently won top prizes at the DuPage County Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO).
EBere Agwuncha and Kelechi Agwuncha, both juniors at PMSA, took home prizes at the competition at the College of DuPage. Kelechi won a gold medal in sculpture and an opportunity to compete in the national ACT-SO competition in Las Vegas in July, while EBere won a silver medal for her microbiology project. ACT-SO, created by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), is "an academic mentoring and enrichment program that provides career exploration and a competition in 27 categories encompassed by the sciences, humanities, business, performing arts, and visual arts."
Kelechi won for her sculpture, "Disconnect," which is a plaster mannequin covered with Time magazine covers. She also had people write words associated with violence in chalk around the sculpture.
"It was to show that even if we tried to unplug ourselves from media, we’re still surrounded by violence and the broadcasting of that stuff," Kelechi said. "We’ve become accustomed to it. We need to do a lot more to have a reaction to stop this violence from happening."
EBere, in her third year in the competition, studied the amount of bacteria that can be found on shopping carts at grocery and department stores. Using a laboratory at Rush Medical Laboratories in Chicago, she found e.coli on the carts, with various degrees of coverage depending on the store.
"I was able to see the real world and what it looked like," EBere said. "It shows the importance of keeping clean and washing your hands."
Kelechi, who is considering studying anthropology and journalism in college, now moves on to the national ACT-SO competition, where she has a chance to win $2,000 and a laptop computer. EBere, who is considering majoring in pre-med and biomedical engineering in college, says that she plans to do more for the competition next year.
Dr. Bessie Karvelas, principal at PMSA, said that everyone at the school is proud of Kelechi and EBere.
"Excellence is a hallmark of our school, and they have proven to be leaders in their fields," she said. "We congratulate them and wish Kelechi well in the national competition."
Congratulations, Kelechi and EBere, on helping to Keep Proviso Rising!