St. Andrew's-Sewanee School's first-ever Ethics Bowl team, the Thomists, consisting of Sophia Patterson, Sarah Beth Hobby, Justine Rogers, and Jayla McLaurin took first place in the state championship on February 2 at University of Tennessee-Knoxville. The team, which is coached by SAS history department chair Geoffrey Smith, will compete at the national championships at the Parr Center for Ethics at UNC-Chapel Hill in April. In addition to winning the championship, the SAS team won the award for Dialectical Excellence. The SAS team prevailed over 17 other teams.
Like many student activities at SAS, Ethics Bowl participation began at the instigation of a student. Senior Sophia Patterson learned about the opportunity at Governor's School and proposed putting together a team. The SAS team includes one senior, two juniors, and a sophomore. The students gathered on Sundays throughout the fall and early winter to prepare cases. Cases discussed at the state competition included private money in academia, China's social credit system, gerrymandering, organ transplant allocation, and more. The team presented or commented on a total of 12 different cases during the daylong competition.
The National High School Ethics Bowl (NHSEB) promotes respectful, supportive, and rigorous discussion of ethics among thousands of high school students nationwide. Each Fall, the NHSEB releases a set of cases covering a broad range of issues, which then serve as the focus for the year. Teams meet together regularly, with a coach, to research the cases, to discuss the issues they raise, and, to identify clearly how they think those issues should be addressed. Teams are judged on the depth of their thought, their ability to think carefully and analytically about complex issues, and the respect they show to the diverse perspectives of their peers. As a result, the NHSEB cultivates the virtues central to democratic citizenship, and prepares students to navigate challenging moral issues in a systematic and open-minded way.