We were standing in the lobby of the rustic lecture building, Social Sciences 2, when the competition director announced the semi-finalists. A pin could be heard getting dropped in in the intervening moments. Seconds later, we found that the Team 1 of OHS had made it to semi-finals. Upon hear the news, we all began cheering.
On the 9th of January, 3 teams, the O, H, and S teams, of 13 OHS students competed in the quaint resort city of Santa Cruz, California in the Ethics Bowl competition. The three teams faced off with other local high schools in three qualifying rounds, and then when one of our teams qualified, that team in the semi-final round. Unfortunately, none of the OHS teams made it to the final round, however many described the competition as fun.
Ethics Bowl is a competitive program designed for high schoolers to debate other high school teams over ethical cases and topics, relying on a blend of philosophical ideas and practical sense. The competition is structured with small and large regionals with the former requiring further qualifiers before nationals while the winners of the large regionals advance directly to nationals, and then nationals deciding the national winner of the competition. The competition itself follows the format of two teams debating over an ethical case, with one team presenting on it and the other responding to it proceeding judge’s questions, and then switching sides and cases.
After copious practice and studying in the proceeding weeks culminating on Friday, the OHS teams were ready. Signing in at 8 o’clock on Saturday, the three teams did last minute study work over coffee and cookies and went off to the first round of competition. For the next three hours, the OHS teams debated against other teams in the Santa Cruz and North California area. The three rounds were essential, being the qualifiers for the semi-final and then finals, with the four teams with the highest number of wins advancing. An OHS team made it to a semi-final round before being eliminated by the team that would go on to win the final round.
While the OHS teams were eliminated from the competition, it was the first year that the OHS has competed. Using the experience from this year, study and work techniques will be tweaked to provide better results. Next year, the OHS plans on coming back strong and putting forth a better show for making it to nationals. Below, you’ll find a recording of an interview with the OHS Team 1 that made it to semifinals.
The recording is here.