A crack team of four debaters carried Phoenixville Area High School to the semifinal round of the 2012 Philadelphia Area High School Ethics Bowl at Villanova University earlier this month.
The team, comprised of PAHS students Shawna Moore, Kyle Kobilka, Alex Montiero, and Bryan Furr, scored in the top four in the morning round of the December 1 competition to advance to the semis; where it was joined by Cherry Hill East, Conestoga, and Radnor.
Though Radnor topped the Phantoms by just eight points to move on to the final round—where it eventually beat Cherry Hill—it’s possible the PAHS team’s performance will be enough to earn it a bid in the first annual national high school ethics bowl championship at the University of North Carolina in April. A yet-to-be determined number of teams from Villanova’s ethics bowl will be invited to compete.
The goal of ethics bowl, according to the district, wasn’t to win, but rather to demonstrate an understanding of the issues at stake.
The students were scored on the quality of their reasoning, how well they organized and presented their case, how well they attended to and analyzed the morally relevant features of the case, and how well they anticipated and preemptively responded to commentary and questions.