SC Afterschool Alliance hosts 500+ students at first SC STEM Extravaganza in Columbia’s Segra Park

October 17, 2023


South Carolina Afterschool Alliance (SCAA) welcomed nearly 600 students and 11 afterschool programs from across the state to Segra Park on Thursday, Oct. 12 for the first SC STEM Extravaganza, where students participated in engaging hands-on STEM activities and celebrated the power of afterschool programming.

Students with the Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands were among nearly 600 students who participated in the SC STEM Extravaganza on Thursday at Segra Park, hosted by the SC Afterschool Alliance in support of Lights on Afterschool. Photo by Dennis Davis of DRD Photography.

At the SC STEM Extravaganza, students participated in educational activities that were hosted by organizations including Mizzen Education, South Carolina Center for Assistive Technology and Educational Research (SC-CATER), Richland County Sheriff’s Department, iMAGINE on the Move, Lower Richland High School Robotics/NSBE/TSA Teams, Irly Bird, the City of Columbia Fire Department, the South Carolina Department of Education and others.

“With nearly 600 students who joined us in Segra Park, we hope the event has helped underscore just how many students are served by afterschool programming in South Carolina,”   said Zelda Waymer, President and CEO of SCAA. “STEM industries offer our students a vast array of future economic opportunities, and afterschool programs are a great place for kids to explore and problem-solve with STEM skills. Thank you to our many afterschool program providers, partner organizations and generous sponsors who made this STEM-powered event possible.”

“We are honored to partner with leaders and educators in South Carolina to make STEM learning a joyful and engaging experience for young people across the state,” said Carlos Santini, CEO of Mizzen Education. “Out-of-school-time programs shine brightest when the community of programs and youth developers come together to make learning meaningful and life-changing.”

The event was held to help promote Lights on Afterschool Day on Oct. 26. Started in 2000, Lights On Afterschool is a project of the nationwide Afterschool Alliance to celebrate afterschool programs and help build awareness of the critical need for more afterschool resources and affordable programming. More than 8,000 communities are expected to participate this year with events and creative campaigns across the country.

In South Carolina, for every child enrolled in an afterschool program, there are at least three students who would attend but do not have access to a program in their community. This is despite strong support for afterschool programming. A 2022 survey found that about 80 percent of voters believe afterschool programs are an absolute necessity, and want their elected leaders to provide more funding for programs. Learn more about the state of afterschool programs in South Carolina here.

SC Afterschool Alliance extends a special thank you to the following sponsors of the event:

  • SouthState Bank (Champion Level)
  • Million Girls Moonshot  (Champion Level)
  • Richland County School District 1 (Mentor Level)
  • United Way of the Midlands (Supporter Level)
  • Molina Healthcare (Supporter Level)


About the South Carolina Afterschool Alliance

South Carolina Afterschool Alliance (SCAA) is a partnership among state government agencies, municipal leaders, foundations, higher education, business leaders, the arts community, local school districts, after school program providers and other critical stakeholders joining together to form a supportive statewide network for after-school and summer learning programs. SCAA works with its partners to raise awareness, increase sustainability, and promote the importance of quality afterschool programs. For additional information please visit