Inaugural Ethics Bowl team reaches finals in Saturday tournament


Members of the Sacred Heart Ethics bowl gather before Finals at Manhattanville College January 30. Courtesy of Mrs. Bader.

Thirteen Convent of the Sacred Heart seniors and members of the inaugural Ethics Bowl Team traveled to Manhattanville College for the first Regional Ethics Bowl Saturday, January 30. From 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, the team debated a variety of ethical dilemmas ranging from underage drinking to voting rights.
Manhattanville Department Chair of Philosophy Dr. Siobhan Nash-Marshall, Manhattanville Philosophy Professor Mr. Paul Kucharski, and Manhattanville Philosophy alumna Mrs. Jesse Juarez hosted the event.
Fifty high school students from various public and private schools around Westchester Country and Fairfield County competed in the Regional Bowl this year. 
“It was interesting to see what other schools from the area thought about different situations and their ethical implications,” Sacred Heart senior and Ethics Bowl member Caleigh Kupersmith said.
A team of 20 judges comprised of Manhattanville College students, alumni, faculty and staff presented the young philosophers with different cases, or ethical scenarios. Guest judges Manhattanville Provost Dr. Lisa Dolling, Dean Lisa Boehm and Dr. Nash-Marshall judged the final round. The goal of the event was to stimulate philosophical arguments that clarify the proper ethical stance or reaction to the scenario itself.
There were three preliminary matches to determine which teams would advance to semi-finals. During each match, judges distributed a case to two different teams. A coin toss at the beginning of each match allocated each team the name Team A or Team B. Neither judges nor the teams knew in advance which case they would receive.
After the judges presented the case, Team A had up to two minutes to confer, after which any member of the Team could speak for up to five minutes in response to the case. After this Presentation period, the opposing Team B could speak for up to three minutes in response to Team A’s presentation. The judges then began a ten-minute question-and-answer session with Team A before scoring each team.

Members of the Sacred Heart Ethics bowl gather before Finals at Manhattanville College January 30. Courtesy of Mrs. Bader.
Members of the Sacred Heart Ethics Bowl Team gather before finals at Manhattanville College January 30.
Courtesy of Mrs. Bader.

The judges utilized their own training and experience in philosophy to determine which team formulated the strongest arguments in response to each case.
The Ethics Bowl is an opportunity for students to think deeply about specific issues and apply philosophical and ethical paradigms to determine the moral course of action. The bowl requires that the students are poised and able to think quickly and respond in an articulate way to probing questions of the judges,” Upper School Theology Teacher and Head of the Upper School Ethics Bowl Team Mrs. Kerry Bader said.
Of the three Sacred Heart teams that competed, seniors Caitlin Joyles, Caleigh Kupersmith, Lucy Alderson-Smith, Nebai Hernandez and Claire Squire advanced to the final round. After a heated debate, they lost to John S. Burke Catholic School in the final match.
The winning team will travel to the National High School Ethics Bowl at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill April 15, 2016.
Mrs. Bader is still in the process of determining whether the Sacred Heart finalist team will travel to North Carolina as an alternate this spring.
–  Katie Nail, Editor-in-Chief and Alana Galloway, Content Editor