Michigan High School Ethics Bowl back in Ann Arbor Feb. 17-18

Teams will compete for spot at nationals in April

Last year's team from Ann Arbor's Pioneer High School (Photo: A2Ethics)
Last year's team from Ann Arbor's Pioneer High School (Photo: A2Ethics)

ANN ARBOR – Once a year, local high schoolers are challenged to critically examine case studies.

The fifth annual Michigan High School Ethics Bowl returns to the University of Michigan's Palmer Commons on Feb. 17-18.

More than 100 high school students representing six counties will compete in the event, with the winner representing the Mitten State in the National High School Ethics Bowl at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in April.

The competition is being hosted and organized by local nonprofit A2Ethics, with additional support from U-M's Department of Philosophy Outreach Program and faculty coaches from schools participating in the event.

Every year, graduate students from U-M's philosophy department serve as coaches for the teams. 


This year's coaches. Back row: Zoë Johnson-King, Francesca Bunkenborg, Caroline Perry, Eduardo Martinez. Middle row: Brendan Mooney, Chris Nicholson, Lingxi Chenyang. Kneeling: Kevin Craven

According to the event's press release, teams will be answering questions like:

"Is it ethical for banks to raise the credit lines of financially vulnerable customers? What are the moral limits of lawyer-client privilege in murder cases? Should protester anonymity be protected in all venues? What ethical considerations should be taken into account in emergency medical evacuations?"

Besides focusing on the students, this year scores of volunteers will be honored for their service since the event began.

Over the years, a diverse group of 60 philosophy instructors and grad students from 11 colleges and universities, plus U-M faculty and representatives of the nonprofit Dispute Resolution Center of Ann Arbor have served as judges.

Also being honored this year are 10 longtime volunteers for A2Ethics who have filled the roles of moderators, scorekeepers and registration staff at the event along with 25 other community members.

Since the event's founding in 2014, students have had to present their analyses of case studies written by Michigan-based professionals and community leaders. This year, 16 contributors from the fields of health care, law, business and finance, social work, media and environmental education have submitted their work.


"Back in 2014, our goal in organizing the High School Ethics Bowl was to establish an engaging extracurricular program for students interested in thinking together, and studying philosophy and real world ethics issues," A2Ethics founder and President Jeanine DeLay said in a press release.

"Michigan was one of the first states to join the National High School Ethics Bowl initiative, which is now active in 25 states and the District of Columbia," she said. "Since then, and thanks in large part to the energy and passion of our university mentors, high school coaches, and community volunteers, the Bowl has expanded at a remarkable pace."


Student participants at last year's Michigan High School Ethics Bowl (Photo: A2Ethics)

This year's lineup:

●    Ann Arbor Greenhills
●    Ann Arbor Huron
●    Ann Arbor Pioneer 
●    Meadow Montessori High School
●    Oak Park High School
●    Portage Northern
●    Saginaw Arts & Sciences Academy
●    Saline High School
●    Wayne Memorial (2017 Michigan Ethics Bowl Champion, Hemlock Cup)
●    Washtenaw International High School
●    Washtenaw Technical Middle College

About A2Ethics

"Founded in 2008, A2Ethics is an all-volunteer, nonprofit dedicated to promoting ethics and philosophy initiatives through events, educational programs and civic partnerships in local communities. Its many projects and activities include the Big Ethical Question Slam and the Ethics Economy Initiative, a podcast interview series featuring ethics professionals from across Michigan. In 2018, A2Ethics is celebrating its 10th anniversary."

For more information, visit the event's website.

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