Five Riverside High School students will be competing in the National High School Ethics Bowl this Spring. The Ethics Bowl is a competition where students go head to head analyzing ethical case studies.
The Riverside team, which is in its first year competing, beat out six competitors at the state level. Friday, they beat a school from Maryland to qualify for the national championship. The team members spent months studying cases, discussing the issues they raise, and forming arguments.
“We were all so excited,” said team member Kyrsten Pringle. “We jumped up and started hugging each other.”
The students on the team said they did not know what to expect. The team members spent months studying cases, discussing the issues they raise, and forming arguments.
“We’re given a set of 15 cases, and we as a team have to research and create kind of sides that we take on all of these cases,” said team member Grace Davis.
Cases range from interpersonal struggles, such as a break-up, to hot-button political issues. Friday, the team tackled cases on gerrymandering and gun control. But it’s different than a debate team. In the Ethics Bowl, showing your opponents courtesy is a priority.
“You’re not necessarily trying to prove the other team wrong,” said team member Allison Kerl. “You’re just trying to get them to elaborate on their point of view, so hopefully you can reach a consensus.”
Before they get to that point, they have to come to a consensus within the team.
“Gun control was one of the ones I had to change my point of view on,” Kerl said. “Hearing my team members’ point of views on it, I had to change my opinions.”
Pringle said one of the things she appreciates about the Ethics Bowl is its emphasis on respect for those who think differently than you.
“The things you kind of see on the news….everyone’s kind of screaming back and forth, and no one can come to a real conclusion,” she said. “And I think that maybe if we should dialed it back some, it would definitely help.”
The National Ethics Bowl will be held at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in April.