Thank you to MaryZoe Bowden, Ed.D., Chair of English Department, for sharing this story with us (images below)!
On Saturday, January 19th, the Seacrest Upper School Ethics Bowl team could be found on the campus of Florida Southwestern College in Ft. Myers, competing with other high schools for the coveted "Hemlock Cup," the trophy given to the winner of the regional Ethics Bowl competition.
The entire Seacrest team is comprised of eight students: Idan Alice, Alex Chapelle, Andrew Gardella, Julian Gonzalez, Alexis Johnson, Bobby Leithauser, John Murphy, and Abigail Timmerman. These students spent months studying a variety of moral frameworks (from Aristotelian Virtue Ethics to Kant's Deontology) and then discussing a set of fifteen cases they might be required to deliberate at the one-day competition. A panel of three to five faculty members from Florida Southwestern and Florida Gulf Coast University's philosophy departments questioned students about the cases they presented and then judged between the two teams that presented during each round.
Seacrest's competition team (composed of Idan, Alex, Andrew, Bobby, and Abigail) presented their cases so thoroughly they won the first three rounds handily. Several of the professors commented on the level of excellence demonstrated when, for example, Andrew distinguished between Agape love and Eros in a case concerning the moral stature of "love drugs." Similarly they commended Alex when he pointed out the tension between the principle he wanted to uphold but the difficulty in practice of attaining it. Finally, Bobby, appealing to the autonomy of individual donors and researchers, argued convincingly that removing private donors from academia is more problematic than the potential bias that might accompany large donations.
The team was presented a long and complex question in the final round, and though they presented the case as they had practiced it, they missed a small aspect of the question. They were judged in second place. Even in that final round, though, the judges commented on the quality of their presentations.
We look forward to returning next year to deepen our moral understanding and to vie once again for the Hemlock Cup award!