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Jesuit High School Ethics Bowl Team Wins Nationals


Last weekend, the Jesuit High School Ethics Bowl team won the 2019 National High School Ethics Bowl at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The team battled through four preliminary rounds, the quarterfinals, semifinals, and eventually to the final round, which they won by a unanimous judges' vote.

The Ethics Bowl Team previously won both the state and regional competitions last month to qualify for the national competition and the chance to compete against the 24 top Ethics Bowl Teams in the country.

Jesuit's team of five students – Ria Debnath '20, Jenny Duan '22, Lauren Haines '20, Jack Jensen '19, and Shawna Muckle '20 – had five weeks to develop and prepare positions for 16 possible cases of ethical dilemmas in a variety of topics. The team met every day after school to research philosophical arguments and scientific data to back their claims for every case. These cases were wide-ranging and included exploring the ethics of the cash bail system, gene editing technology, parents using tracking devices on their child's cell phone and more.

In each round of competition, the two opposing teams were given a distinct ethical dilemma and specific question to discuss. Each team gave a six-minute presentation and answered questions from both the opposing team and a panel of three judges. At the end of the round, the judges each voted individually for the team that presented the most effective position.

The performance of each team was judged on the basis of how clearly, articulately, and perceptively the students developed the positions they decided to take; their ability to communicate respectfully and collaboratively; and their willingness to take diverse viewpoints into account.

"The Ethics Bowl is a truly unique opportunity presented to students that invites them to develop lifelong skills in dialogue, analytical thinking and team work," stated Angela Steiert, Jesuit's Ethics Bowl Coach. "Shawna, Ria, Jack, Lauren and Jenny are an amazing team whose ethical stances flow seamlessly together as they present. I have been privileged to watch their ethical voice develop over the last few years and am amazed by their commitment, open-mindedness and hard work."

Jesuit's team members agree that Ethics Bowl provides a space for civil discourse and an avenue for expression of opinion. The team was bolstered by the fact that each member brought a unique perspective and interest to the discussions. Although they did not always agree, they certainly mastered the art of collaboration and consideration of all opinions.

Congratulations to our 2019 National High School Ethics Bowl Champions!