Happy Friday, friends! I have to admit it has been a difficult week to find something meaningful to share with you all. At one point it was a coin toss between a hilariously adorable Huffington Post Parents Instagram video of a baby eating a pickle for the first time and the launch of Beyoncé’s new athletic line, Ivy Park. As entertaining and trendy as these things are to me, I figured they probably wouldn’t be as fun for my target demographic. So I thought harder and dug deeper until I realized inspiration was right in front of me all along.
As most of you know, I’m a high school English teacher during the school day. After school (and on some weekends), I have the distinct honor of advising a group of five students in our school’s Ethics Bowl. Initially, we lacked direction, a budget, and popular interest, but with an amazing coach, supportive parents, and phenomenally thoughtful students, we dominated both regionals and sectionals, and currently find ourselves with 24 other schools at this weekend’s 4th National High School Ethics Bowl hosted by The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Now I’ll admit, I usually stay out of the team’s way and focus on the logistical side of things, while the coach works closely with team members on philosophical and ethical decision-making in light of the cases with which they are presented. However, being at Nationals has reshifted my focus and attention from the larger picture to the smaller picture: the kids. I wish you all could be flies on the wall during these rounds. The participants are sharp, thoughtful, collaborative, reflective, conscious, respectful, kind, charismatic, and–of course–ethical! To say it has been a privilege to watch them discuss cases and deliberate over the best ethical decisions is, quite frankly, an understatement. If we continue to create spaces for teens to explore challenging and complex topics through a moral lens, I strongly believe these conversations will appear outside of the classroom and in everyday conversations. My hope is that students will make better, more ethical decisions which will, in turn, positively impact the world. A tall order? Maybe. Impossible? Not at all.
Take a look at this promo to see what the Ethics Bowl is all about. Perhaps it will inspire you, too!