Ethics Bowl club gains momentum


Sophia Wang, Editor-In-Chief

On Feb. 12, the LOHS Ethics Bowl club competed virtually in the 2022 Oregon Ethics Bowl. Despite falling just short of qualifying for semifinals, the team’s performance in their last round stood out, receiving special recognition from the judges. Club founder and president, junior Lauren Zhang, described, “We had a very impressive last round, which did get a shout out for being one of the best quality rounds the judges had ever seen.”

The Oregon High School Ethics Bowl is an annual event where students discuss sets of ethical dilemmas in an environment that encourages collaboration, not just competition. Zhang founded the Ethics Bowl club last school year in the midst of COVID-19. As a veteran Speech and Debate competitor, she recognized that some students are hesitant to participate in the competitive environment of Speech and Debate, while “I think [Ethics Bowl] is a lot more inclusive in that it focuses a lot more on how we can help each other and how we can improve each other as opposed to winning.” 

Teams are scored based on the clarity of their presentation in addressing the proposed question, discussion of central moral dimensions and consideration of different viewpoints. According to the National High School Ethics Bowl “Teams are strongly encouraged to think of themselves as being on

the same side rather than as opponents. That is, both teams are working together to solve a difficult problem–while impressing the judges with thoughtful analysis and support.” 

The Ethics Bowl club at LOHS is still new, and functioning mainly through student organization. The small group still managed to stand out against other schools in the region with established coaches and long program histories. Club adviser Mark McNeal said, “I think our team did incredibly well, considering that they were up against schools that have very established Ethics Bowl teams.”

Now, the team is waiting to get feedback from judges so they can determine directions for future improvements and continue stronger into the preparation phase of next year’s competition.

“If you want to learn about ethics, and think critically and have really interesting conversations with really cool people, I would recommend that you join Ethics Bowl because it’s a really fun place. It’s very low key. We just have a lot of fun talking and sharing ideas,” Zhang concluded.