The Fables of Aesop is out now!
A Celebration of Duty and Desire: Youth Conference
Thursday - Saturday of the National Conference in Charleston, SC
July 18
- July 20, 2024
Francis Marion Hotel, The Gold Ballroom

For the very first time, The CiRCE Institute is thrilled to introduce our inaugural Youth Conference for high school students.

In the profound story, The Horse and His Boy (C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia), the young boy Shasta, or Cor, is surprised to discover his true identity as Corin’s older twin and the rightful heir to the throne. However, he does not want to be king, believing the throne should be Corin’s, as Corin was the one who grew up in the king’s home.

To this claim, his father replies, “Tis no question what thou wantest, Cor, nor I either. ‘Tis in the course of law.” Not even the king has the authority to choose otherwise: “No. The King is under the law, for it’s the law makes him a king. Hast no more power to start away from thy crown than any sentry from his post.”

In this passage, Lewis embodies a particular understanding of duty and desire. The two can often be at odds with one another, leaving one to determine how he ought to choose between the two. Duty, at least largely, is more easily rationally justified, but desire, often, pulls more strongly on the heart.

For CiRCE’s first ever high schoolers conference, we are calling high school-aged students to consider duty and desire: what are they, what authority do they have over us, what authority should they have over us, how do we choose between them, and how do we follow through on the choice that is made?

This is a new venture for CiRCE, and one that arose from our recognition of a growing number of students nearing graduation who actively engage with our national conference, as they prepare for their future after high school. We want to provide you with more as you work to resolve this next step, and that is why a select number of Colleges and Honor Programs will also participate in this event. This is not a college fair. Through this unique opportunity, they aim to provide you with a glimpse into what a class in their program entails as they also present on the theme of Duty and Desire, and, if you choose to attend their school, serving as a model for your academic journey ahead.

Come join us at the Francis Marion Hotel, while the CiRCE National Conference is also taking place.


Here is how this will work:

Registration for the Duty and Desire conference does NOT get you access to the Contemplation of Prudence conference, and registration for the Contemplation of Prudence conference does not get you access to the Duty and Desire conference. Please do not cross over into the other event.

College led sessions are not presentations by a college representative on why you should choose their college. College led sessions are led by a professor from the college to demonstrate what a class looks like at their school. It may be a lecture or presentation; it may be a seminar style discussion; that depends on the college’s own way of teaching classes.

The presenting colleges will be added over the coming months.
Just like at our National Conferences, Breakfast will provided Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and Lunch will be provided on Thursday and Friday. If you have any questions, please email

Confirmed Speakers

Katerina Hamilton

Director of Press

Christopher Perrin

CEO/Publisher of Classical Academic Press

Joshua Leland

Michael Buck Holler

Director of Consulting

Heidi White

Jonathan Councell

Dr. Matthew Bianco


Andrew Kern

President & CEO

Francis Marion Hotel, The Gold Ballroom

EST time
July 17

6pm: Check-in & Welcome Reception

July 18

9am - 10am: Plenary I - Dr. Matthew Bianco

10:30am - 11:30am: College Style Class; Leader TBD

12pm - 1pm: College Style Class; Leader TBD

1pm - 2:30pm: Lunch

2:30pm - 3:30pm: Plenary II - Joshua Leland

3:45pm - 4:45pm: Panel I - Christopher Perrin

July 19

9am - 10am: Plenary III - Heidi White

10:30am - 11:30am: College Style Class; Leader TBD

12pm - 1pm: College Style Class; Leader TBD

1pm - 2:30pm: Lunch

2:30pm - 3:30pm: Plenary IV - Andrew Kern

3:45pm - 4:45pm: Panel II - Jonathan Councell, Buck Holler, and Katerina Hamilton

July 20

9am - 10am: Plenary V - Katerina Hamilton

10:30am - 11:30am: College Style Class; Leader TBD

12pm - 1pm: Closing Remarks


Frequently Asked Questions

We recognize that the attendees of this event are primarily going to be ages 14-18. If the attendee is under the age of 18, the parent or guardian must be present at registration. There they will fill out a waiver explaining their responsibility for the child and their actions. The parent/guardian then does not need to be present for the event, but must promptly pick up the child at the end of each day (unless the family is staying at the Francis Marion Hotel.)
The following meals will be provided for attendees: Wednesday – Hors d’Oeuvres (registration evening) | Thursday – Breakfast and Lunch | Friday – Breakfast and Lunch | Saturday – Breakfast | Note: This event does not include the Paidea Prize banquet
Attendance is open to anyone aged 14-20.