Piscataway High School placed first at the seventh annual High School Ethics Bowl on Saturday, December 7, 2013, beating Kent Place School in the final round. Third and fourth place went to Ridge High School followed by Union High School, respectively. Thirteen schools and twenty teams from all over New Jersey and New York competed in this year’s event, with four schools participating for the first time.
The High School Ethics Bowl introduces participants to careful thinking about ethical issues in modern society. Teams of students compete as they debate ethical issues raised by contemporary science, technology, and societal issues.
"It takes a lot of effort and initiative for students to prepare for this kind of event," said Prof. Michael Steinmann, Chair of the High School Ethics Bowl. "It is exciting to see that students have an interest in debates on ethics and are willing to expose themselves to public debating. It takes courage and enthusiasm to do this."
Topics debated in this year’s Ethics Bowl included compensation for college athletes; physician-assisted suicide; legalization of marijuana; and security versus privacy online in response to Edward Snowden’s revelations.
"Although the Ethics Bowl works as a competition, it is first and foremost an opportunity for dialogue and conversation," Steinmann said. "We all have our private opinions on ethical matters and our individual values and beliefs. But a democratic society cannot work if we do not try to engage in a dialogue with others in which we articulate and justify our opinions."
In the final round, students from Piscataway High School and Kent Place School debated the use of artificial meat in the public domain as well as the controversy surrounding the death of Trayvon Martin. Piscataway High School emerged victorious earning 54 points in the final round, narrowly beating Kent Place School with 50 points.
"Watching our teams develop over the course of two short months is gratifying," said Craig Hoek, an English teacher and faculty mentor for Piscataway High School’s debate teams. "Having them realize their goal of advancing to further ethical debate is humbling, especially in consideration of the quality teams participating in this preliminary competition."
Piscataway High School’s win qualified the team to compete in the upcoming National High School Ethics Bowl in April 2014. The event, which is being hosted by the Parr Center for Ethics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will include teams from all over the country as they compete for the title of "National High School Ethics Bowl Grand Champion."
For more information about the Ethics Bowl, click here.
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