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Viewpoint Students Compete for the First Time Ever in Southern California High School Ethics Bowl - Winning Two Out of Three Matches

Viewpoint is excited to share the success of the School’s first High School Ethics Bowl (HSEB) team in competition. The team, established by Head of School and Co-Coach Mark McKee, Co-Coach Cathy Shelburne McKee, and several seniors, participated in the Southern California HSEB hosted by Chapman University earlier this month, where they won two of the three matches.

According to the National High School Ethics Bowl website, “The National HSEB and the regional ethics bowls it supports are competitive yet collaborative events in which students discuss real-life ethical issues. In each round of competition, teams take turns analyzing cases about complex ethical dilemmas and responding to questions and comments from the other team and from a panel of judges. An ethics bowl differs from a debate competition in that students are not assigned opposing views; rather, they defend whichever position they think is correct, provide each other with constructive criticism, and win by demonstrating that they have thought rigorously and systematically about the cases and engaged respectfully and supportively with all participants.”

Mr. McKee said, “I was proud to see our seniors lead the creation of Viewpoint’s inaugural High School Ethics Bowl team. Since Cathy [my wife, Cathy Shelburne McKee, also a career teacher] and I started judging High School Ethics Bowl a few years ago, we have been attracted to its blend of real-world ethical dilemmas, practical philosophy, and collaborative discourse. While teams are competing, they are awarded points for engaging in respectful dialogue and building collaboratively on other teams’ ideas rather than engaging in combative debate. Students are rewarded for listening as well as clear thinking and moral reasoning. It’s been a dream of Cathy’s and mine to create a team, and our Viewpoint students did well in their first time out, winning two of three rounds and distinguishing themselves for their character and diplomacy as well as their thoughtful expression.  As one of our team was a junior (Calvin Jacobs ‘23), we are already looking forward to next year.

Two of our team members got their start in my Ethics and Leadership course—Danny Humphrey ‘22 and Ethan Schwartz ‘22.  They were led by “captain” Christopher Fillipakis ‘22 and joined by Brendon Lyampert ‘22 and Calvin Jacobs ‘23.  The day of competition highlighted all their individual strengths, as they discussed cases from the ethics of social media companies experimenting on their users to the ethics of news organizations, DNA testing kits, and COVID vaccinations. Students reported learning a great deal from the cases and from the discussions with opposing teams.”

Senior Danny Humphrey agreed. He said, “It was amazing to realize how similar a lot of our motives were, despite the diversity of our opinions. I went in expecting a competition, I came out having had an unforgettable discussion. One thing I love about this school is you can be eating lunch one second and preparing for an ethical tournament the next.”

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