The After-School Ethics Leadership Academy gives promising sixth-grade students the opportunity to develop their leadership skills and to learn about ethics every year. During the leadership academy, the students have the opportunity to interact with Jackson Scholars who serve as group discussion leaders. For many students, this is their first experience with college life. A group of students are selected annually by local middle schools to participate in the After-School Ethics Leadership Academy. The After-School Ethics Leadership Academy is a tradition that started in 2004 as a summer program. Over time it developed into a spring After-School Ethics and Leadership Academy.‌  ‌

The 2019 After School Ethics Academy (ASEA) was attended by 54 students. The participating middle schools were: Aynor, Black Water, Conway, Forestbrook, Loris, Myrtle Beach, Ocean Bay, Socastee, St. James and Whittemore Park. Our topic was sustainability: the applied ethics of balancing economic, social and environmental goods in business (corporate social responsibility), design and public policy. Academy participants were given an introduction to sustainability ethics, and led through some small-group discussions on the topic by the Jackson Scholars. We also enjoyed informative, inspirational visits from: two Solar Ambassadors, Coastal undergraduates who recently completed a project to add solar panels to Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10804 (Little River, SC); and a CCU Eco Rep, a student peer educator who promotes sustainable living at CCU and in the surrounding communities.

This year ASEA gave participants the chance to put their academic and leadership skills to work in a group-based design competition. Participants formed teams of six to eight sixth grade students and a pair of Jackson Scholars. Over the second and third weeks of the academy, the groups researched and produced poster projects on sustainable design and innovation in areas such as: school lunch menus focused on local and healthy foods; recreation centers which serve the community without costing the plant; and public information campaigns to help keep the coast clean and free of harmful litter. The groups presented their work at the end of the third week to a panel of three judges: David Holiday (Director); Jeremy Monday, Coordinator for Sustain Coastal (the TD Campus and Community Sustainability Initiative); and Darcy Coughlan, Teaching associate HTC Honors College and Center for Interdisciplinary Studies (who teaches in sustainability and environmental policy). Both the judges and the Jackson Scholars were impressed by the hard work and bright ideas of the 6th graders. They showed real research chops, looking into local fish populations and agriculture and casually using technical terms such as “antioxidant polyphenols” in discussion! They were also impressively original, producing inventive solutions to sustainability challenges, such as drinking straws made of ice to replace single-use plastic ones (genius!). All of the teams produced fine projects and, as our photos show, the Academy reverberated with positive energy and enthusiasm.


2019-2021 Jackson Scholar, Jordan Maxwell comments: 

The After School Ethics Academy was a great way to intervene in the kids' lives at a young age and make them more aware of how to take care of our planet. It was such a fun time working with them, educating them, and bringing their ideas to life in a friendly, competitive manner.." 

2018-2020 Jackson Scholar, Anaiya Moore comments:

The Ethics Academy was a great expeience where I got a chance to work with extremely bright students. It was a chance to see what our future leaders thought about morality, and what is going on in our world."

2018-2020 Jackson Scholar, Lauren Palazuelos comments:

I am incredibly grateful to have had a chance to participate in the ethics academy. I was blown away by the aspirations of these young children. Their intelligence, thoughtfulness, curiousity and creativity were inspiring. They far exceeded my expectations in all respects, and seeing their excitement as they toured Coastal's campus was by far the best part of the entire program."

For more information about the Ethics Academy, or to get involved, please contact Julinna Oxley, Director of the Jackson Family Center for Ethics and Values, at