© 2024 University of Missouri - KBIA
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Hickman High School competes in Ethics Bowl

Flickr user Chris Potter


  Ethics bowls have been popular among college campuses for many years, but only in the past three years have entered high schools across America. Last week Hickman High School entered the first annual Missouri State High School Ethics Bowl receiving first and second place.

Eli Byerly-Duke is the debate team captain at Hickman High School. He recently decided to try out a new type of competition, Ethics Bowls. The team consists of six students and is coached by Virginia Lennon.  They began practicing soon after winter break giving them under a month to prepare. Byerly-Duke says more than half the students have a background in debate, giving them that extra edge.

“I felt like it was a really great opportunity for me to be able to do what I love, which is public speaking and thinking about and answering as best I can difficult and philosophical and ethical questions. But I could do that without the hypercompetitivenesss and illegitimate opinions that I find in speech and debate.” Byerly-Duke said.

Now the students are preparing for the National High School Ethics Bowl. Byerly-Duke says they have to focus on two main components, public speaking and working through 15 assigned problems before the competition. Byerly-Duke says he is not worried about a question being too big or too complicated for the team to answer.

You know, we’re like somewhere between 14-18 year old high schoolers, we don’t have it all figured out, but there’s nothing that we can’t get our heads at and think about and talk about,” Byerly-Duke said.

The Missouri State High School Ethics Bowl only had four teams competing, but Lennon says she is working to spread the word and hopes more teams will sign up next year. She says she believes it’s important for high schoolers to begin thinking about ethical questions now.

I feel like ethics, the study of ethics, is one of the most important things that they can focus on right now and we have a lot of problems in the world to fix and I’m counting on them to fix them,” Lennon said.

The National High School Ethics Bowl will be held at the University of North Carolina in April.