Over the weekend, high schools, both public and private, from all over the state competed in the State Ethics Bowl competition, hosted by The SEED Foundation through the NHSEB (National High School Ethics Bowl).
According to the mission statement of The National High School Ethics Bowl, the program “promotes respectful, supportive, and in-depth discussion of ethics among high school students nationwide. By engaging high school students in intensive ethical inquiry, the NHSEB fosters constructive dialogue and furthers the next generation’s ability to make sound ethical decisions. Our collaborative model rewards students for the depth of their thought, their ability to think carefully and analytically about complex issues, and the respect they show to the diverse perspectives of their peers. As a result, it enables students to practice and build the virtues central to democratic citizenship, thus preparing them to navigate challenging moral issues in a rigorous, systematic, and open-minded way.”
Within this context, teams research central moral dimensions surrounding each topic, identify the stakeholders involved in the dilemma, and carefully consider multiple viewpoints before endorsing any particular stances. During each round, teams are presented with a single hypothetical ethical dilemma, are asked to construct arguments in response, and then present these responses to a panel of judges.
The four teams that entered from The Academy of Classical Christian Studies swept the top four places in the competition. Team Plato, which included Jackson Clark, Maura Koehler, Harper Murray, and Ethan Stanczyk placed first. Team Socrates, which included Jack Miller, Elijah Leydorf, and Samuel High placed second. Super Team, including AJ Jackson, Meredith Thomas, Madison Allen, and Kate Cheng placed third, and Team Aristotle, including Caroline Molloy, Cassady Capucille, Caroline Howell, Jamy Plinsky, and Grace DeSpain placed fourth.
While students from The Academy have only been participating in the Ethics Bowl for about five years, it seems likely their success can be attributed to The Academy’s classical curriculum.
In response to their unprecedented wins, The Academy’s Ethics Bowl Coach, Jennifer Stall, said “When a sports team wins a state title, that’s a reflection of their athletic department. When an orchestra or choir wins a state title, it’s a reflection of their arts department. But this is truly a reflection of the classical model at large—it wasn’t my individual classes and practices that prepared them for this. It was humanities. And logic. And omnibus. And all of the other classical components!”
All four teams will have the opportunity to participate in DePauw University’s Prindle Institute for Ethics’ National High School Ethics Bowl Invitational, and Team Plato will compete in the national competition.
Academy Junior Madison Allen said “We’ve put in so much time, and we’ve cried, and we’ve woken up early, all to make this happen—both for this season and the last couple years—and it’s great to see all our work pay off.”