Ethics team qualifies for nationals


Ethics bowl team. Photo courtesy of Cheryl Nahmias.

On Feb. 12, the Decatur High School Ethics Bowl team competed via Skype against West Ashley High School in South Carolina, ultimately winning the round 3-0. This entirely new team won due to their evaluation about the efficacy of violence and the billionaire altruism. The team will compete in the National High School Ethics Bowl (NHSEB) for the second time in only two years competing. 

During the statewide meet on Jan. 25, the two Decatur High School teams won their four preliminary matchups and faced off in the finals. After their victory, they had to narrow it down to seven students for the next stage. The starting team members were juniors Julian Fortuna, Lukka Wolff, Erin Gaul and Marta Westerstahl, along with sophomore Jessie Montgomery, and the alternates were junior Alex Watts and sophomore Priya Master.

In order to prepare for the qualifying round, the Ethics Bowl team reviewed 15 cases, but they didn’t know which case would be used for the competition. According to Master, “because this is regionals, we can kind of guess what the cases are going to be, but we don’t know if they are repeating any cases.” For this reason, the team hosted several mock bowls to prepare for tournament situations.

While there is a point-scoring system in Ethics Bowl, Master believes it is different from Debate team or other activities.

“The spirit of ethics bowl is really important, and you’re trying to work together with the other team to come to the best ethical conclusion, without being demeaning,” Master said.

Junior Solomon Kibret is another member of the team who also feels Ethics Bowl is different than Debate and similar activities.

“Unlike Debate, when you have to commit to one side, Ethics Bowl is really about flexibility and being open-minded to different ideas,” Kibret said.

The team is coached by IB Coordinator Cheryl Nahmias and her husband, Chair of Philosophy Dept. at Georgia State University Eddy Nahmias. Kibret believes that having a philosopher as a coach puts the Decatur team at an advantage since “other teams sometimes neglect the fundamental point of Ethics Bowl, which is analyzing the whole picture.”

The NHSEB will take place at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Apr. 17-19.