Group of students participating in debate at Ethic Bowl

Although public discourse has become fraught with tension in recent years, many high school students strive to set a tone of civility thanks to the National High School Ethics Bowl (NHSEB) program. The NHSEB provides educational opportunities for young people to think through complex ethical questions and debate with peers. 

In tandem with the NHSEB, the Center for Ethics in Society at Saint Anselm College hosted the fourth annual Goodchild Ethics Bowl on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023. Over 100 high school students from 11 high schools were on campus to compete in the regional competition of the National High School Ethics Bowl. Phillips Exeter High School took home the top trophy, and they will now advance to the divisional round via Zoom against the winner of the Boston regional competition. If they win that, they go to the national competition at the University of North Carolina. 

During an Ethics Bowl event, small teams analyze cases, develop a position, and then present it to a larger group. Students must engage the central moral issues of the case, justify their position and address possible counterarguments.

“It was great to see students from all over New Hampshire—and as far away as upstate New York—come to campus for the Ethics Bowl,” said History Professor Matthew Masur, who volunteers with the center. “Their ability to grapple with challenging ethical topics was impressive.” Students wrestled with some very tough issues, including artificial intelligence, animal rights, parental control over the curriculum, culturally segregated charter schools, and more. 

Over 30 volunteers participated as judges and moderators, including several Saint Anselm students. “Moderating the Ethics Bowl was a great joy for me,” said senior Olivia Halle ’23. “It was exciting to see the next generation passionate about the problems in the world they live in."

“I am so proud of all of the students who participated in our Ethics Bowl this year,” said philosophy professor Dr. Max Latona, the center’s executive director. “They demonstrated an impressive ability to reflect, communicate, listen and collaborate—all skills that they will need for their personal and professional lives, and to become leaders in our communities.”

This event is made possible with the support of Ken Goodchild ’69. Goodchild is a member of the center’s advisory board and a passionate advocate of the Ethics Bowls as a tool to help develop students into thoughtful leaders.