UHS Ethics Bowl Team Wins Nationals

The UHS Ethics Bowl Team placed first at the 2021 National High School Ethics Bowl in its second year as a club at UHS.


UHS’s slim victory over Kent Place School in the final match of 2021 National High School Ethics Bowl sealed the team’s national title in just their second year of competition.

Chaitanya Kotra

The UHS Ethics Bowl Team placed first at the 2021 National High School Ethics Bowl in its second year as a club at UHS. In their first year, the team placed fifth at the regional competition.

This year’s competition took place online, instead of its usual location at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The competition was organized by the Parr Center for Ethics and took place from April 9 to 11.

Following two days of four preliminary rounds, a quarterfinals round, and a semifinals round, the championship round took place between UHS and Kent Place School of Summit, New Jersey.

Junior Grace Jin, founder and president of the club, expressed her delight at the team’s win, as they seemed relatively inexperienced in comparison to some of the other teams.

“Some of our competitors had been competing in Ethics Bowl for years, whereas we were just a ‘newbie’ team,” Jin said. “However, with every round that we won, I became more and more impressed with my teammates, and by the time we advanced to the championship round, I was in utter disbelief.”

Freshman Chiara Rignot explained why the victory was particularly significant to her.

“With all the stress of prepping cases for regionals and nationals it was not always easy and almost all of us procrastinated our assigned work till an hour before our meetings”, Rignot said. “But other than that everyone on the team is so much fun to be around and even as just a freshman I still was so comfortable with everyone else and we just bonded really well.”

Junior Sohrob Habibi acknowledged the opposing team’s impressive performance in the final round of the competition, saying “[Kent Place School] was very, very good.”

Ms. Ann Campbell, a social sciences teacher at UNI and advisor to the Ethics Bowl club, cited the team’s dedication as a significant factor in their win.

“I was most proud of them as they were a completely self-taught team. Due to the restrictions of COVID and the Hybrid model, my interaction with the team was limited,” Campbell said. “I think a part of their success came in not knowing what to expect and going to Nationals to enjoy the experience and learn.”

Sophomore Caitlyn Liao explained how the scoring system works and how their winning score was determined at the conclusion of the national championship round.

“The matches are based on who receives more votes from the three judges, who award points based on each team’s presentation, speaking, teamwork, and civility,” Liao said. “One judge voted for us, and the second judge voted for us by only a two point margin in terms of scoring, which is extremely close. The third judge voted for the other team, so the results were not unanimous, indicating the strength of our team and the other team who made it to the finals,” Liao said.

The team eagerly anticipates next year’s Ethics Bowl season, as more meetings and events begin to move back in-person.

“We are looking forward to next year when we can once again meet in person and prepare to defend our championship,” Campbell said.