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    Ethics Bowl team places as semifinalists in DC Regional Ethics Bowl

    Ethics Bowl Team winning in the innovation commons
    Ethics Bowl Team winning in the innovation commons

    The Gonzaga Ethics Bowl team placed as semifinalists in the D.C. High School Regional Ethics Bowl this past February.

    The bowl, hosted by American University, was a challenge taken on by Gonzaga seniors Paul Molinaro and Jack Deye as well as junior Jacques Sangaw and freshman Hayden Burnside. 

    Prior to the bowl proceedings, a total of 15 possible topics with five questions each for a total of 75 questions, is published and released to aid those preparing for the bowl. Each topic is a contemporary ethical case that has many complex parts that make it difficult to ascertain only one possible answer. 

    “The cases are always interesting too, and the subjects are serious and apply to our daily lives,” said Jack Deye, senior. 

    The difficulty of the cases necessitates the contestants being given plenty of time to review and prepare them.

    “The cases you are going to look at and present arguments for are posted online before the competition. So your club pours over them during meetings,” said Paul Molinaro, senior, regarding the often strenuous process of preparing for the bowl. 

    Reviewing and practicing in club meetings requires effort and determination yet was still a very fun and rewarding experience for the boys on the team. 

    The actual competition works like this. 

    “There’s two teams and they get designated team A and team B. Team A reads the case and makes an argument and then they present their argument in front of team B and the judges. Then, side B has time to prepare their response to side A’s argument. After, team B presents their response. Side A then gets to respond to side B’s counterargument. When that’s done, the judges have an open question and answer session with side A. Side B waits. Then, round two happens, and the roles are reversed,” said Molinaro about how the competition between two teams in the bowl works.

    Comprehension and the ability to come to ethically correct decisions is required for each topic. 

    “Each round the judges randomly choose a question,” Molinaro said, meaning that the team had to be prepared to carry out full-fledged arguments for each of the 75 possible questions.

    The judges choose the winner of a round by analyzing which team worked through the bout in a logically correct way while also maintaining proper etiquette and respect for the judges and opposing team. From this scoring, a winning team is selected between two teams, and this team advances to the next round of the competition, against a new team. Eventually, this process narrows the bowl down to two teams, and a winner is decided. As semifinalists, the Gonzaga boys were in the top four of eight teams for their respective region of the nationwide competition.

    “It is a nationwide competition, but they break it into smaller competitions so our local competition was 8 teams,” Deye said.

    The ethics bowl is very unique because of the wide range of styles it provides its participants with to win. 

    “It’s like debate club, but I think it’s better in so many ways. Instead of having to argue a point you dislike or getting out-researched, it’s a discussion where you can completely agree with the other side and pages upon pages of research are not needed. The way you can win, despite completely agreeing with the other side, is by asking better questions, or by incorporating more viewpoints,” Deye said.

    The team utilized the new Maker Space during the competition, as it was hosted on Zoom. They competed without a hitch, and members of the team shared that they felt their success, in some way, was due to the efficacy and efficiency of the Maker Space. 

    “The innovation commons is a good school investment,” Molinaro said. 

    The members of the Gonzaga Ethics Bowl team loved the experience and the feeling of  community preparation for the event gave them. They made it clear that joining the club for future ethics bowls would be an enjoyable, great way to immerse oneself deeper in the Gonzaga brotherhood.

    “I highly recommend ethics bowl to anyone who thinks debate is too combative or anyone who enjoys the concepts discussed in ethics class,” Deye said.

    Students interested in joining this club should reach out to Ms. Shannon Berry, moderator and theology teacher.

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