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Bearden’s first Ethics Bowl team preparing to compete at UT

Emily Simmons, News Editor

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Bearden High School is well known for its wide variety of competitive athletics, but Bearden is also home to several academic competition teams – from Scholars’ Bowl to Science Olympiad.

This year, Bearden will add a new competition to that list for the first time ever – the Tennessee High School Ethics Bowl Competition (THSEB) hosted by the University of Tennessee Department of Philosophy.

The Ethics Bowl is a judged competition that involves students discussing and reasoning through case studies on an ethical level and philosophical level.

At its heart, the THSEB is a discussion, not a debate,” according to the organization’s official website. “Teams are not required to choose opposing sides, nor is the goal to ‘win’ arguments by belittling other teams or their positions.”

Bearden was approached this year by UT professor Mr. Alex Feldt about the competition to see if students would be interested. The event was picked up by the Humanities Club and students are being led by teachers Mrs. Anne Fine and Mr. Sandy Hughes.

“The students are supposed to become familiar with case studies provided and then discuss and make points about those various studies at the competition,” Mrs. Fine said. “The event really forces students to look at how things affect all different realms of society and really answer the why questions about these studies and issues on a deeper level.”

To prepare for this event, students review and discuss provided case studies every Monday after school when Mr. Feldt comes from UT to Bearden to help students evaluate the case studies on deeper levels than they may be used to. Members of the team will even begin taking home case studies over Christmas break to familiarize themselves on an in-depth level.  

“Mrs. Fine approached me about the bowl and said I would be a good candidate for it, and it really seemed interesting and due to my interest with philosophy I decided to give it a try,” junior Daniel Labrador said. “It will probably be a little challenging, though, since it is our first year doing the competition, so we will be very new to the scene.”

Other schools that are competing in the THSEB competition this year include Fulton, Farragut, Webb, and West, among others.

“I am on the debate team here, and I really enjoy debating topics and trying to prove a point so the competition really seemed like a great opportunity, and it seems to really present a challenge as it’s more about abstract things like feelings and ethics rather than just pure facts which is different from a traditional debate,” sophomore Ben Barber said. “I am just really looking forward to get to debate and discuss what at times can be controversial issues with my friends and other students.”

The THSEB competition will take place Feb. 8 and will be held at the Holiday Inn downtown.

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Bearden’s first Ethics Bowl team preparing to compete at UT