John Cooper Ethics Bowl team captures first place at regionals

By: Debbie Spiess, The John Cooper School
| Published 02/14/2018


THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- Diligent research and practice paid off for The John Cooper School’s Ethics Bowl team that captured first place overall in the regional competition at the Houston Ethics Bowl that was held at Rice University on January 3.

The Cooper team of high school students also won each of its individual competitions. The team will compete next in an online virtual playoff round against the regional champions from Chicago in hopes of another victory and an invitation to the National High School Ethics Bowl Competition that takes place at The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in April.

Ethics Bowl is a competition in which students gather to discuss ethical issues and compete in offering arguments for the positions they take. The competitors are judged on their ability to offer articulate, well-informed, and reasonable arguments. Teams participate in multiple rounds of head-to-head competition before a panel of three judges made up of university faculty, graduate students and community members.

Among the topics addressed at the regional round were the ethics behind Harvard’s decision to rescind admission because of students’ offensive social media posts; the moral dilemmas facing the programming of driverless cars; and whether we have moral duties to contribute to our nation, even if we have more opportunities elsewhere.

Team member Streya Nalluri says training with the team for competition has been a highlight of her senior year. “We've spent hours going through each ethical dilemma, constructing our arguments, and creating solutions for each problem,” she said. “I've always loved debating and having discussions, but this process has really taught me how to look at an issue and examine different perspectives. It's taught me civility, and I've learned how to articulate my thoughts more clearly as a result.”

Upper School English teacher Will Garland is the Cooper team’s faculty advisor. “I’m very proud of our students,” he said. “The team worked together and built off of each other’s ideas as they showcased their intelligence and poise in a thoughtful manner in the intense atmosphere of the competition, which is quite an accomplishment.”

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