Hackley School Students Compete in MS and US Ethics Bowls: Upper School Students Take First place

Hackley School students in the Middle and Upper School divisions are learning to explore the philosophical dimensions of complex ethical dilemmas, participating in regional and national ethics competitions, and demonstrating what it means to ‘Redefine a Liberal Arts Education,’ a key effort in Hackley’s strategic plan Redefining Excellence: Learning Beyond Boundaries.

On February 6-7, 2021, eleven Upper School students delivered an exceptional performance in the regional National High School Ethics Bowl. Following in the footsteps of their Upper School counterparts, Middle School 7th and 8th graders competed in the Inaugural NYC Regional MS Ethics Bowl on January 31, a competition for Metro-area middle schools organized by Hackley. Participation in these competitions reinforces for our students the importance of learning from the varying perspectives in our community and the world in order to sharpen ethical awareness and bring clarity to understanding.
During the National High School Ethics Bowl, two Hackley Upper School teams competed against other schools in the region to reason through the elements of multiple ethical dilemmas.  They discussed topics such as what principles ought to underlie the naming or renaming of buildings on college campuses and public spaces; whether it is ethical to support restaurants by dining out during the pandemic; what considerations ought to take primacy in supporting or opposing the Harper’s Bazaar letter regarding “cancel culture;” and whether it is ethical to support factory-farmed animal consumption. Mr. Steve Bileca—Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs—noted, “As coaches, Steve Fitzpatrick and I were frankly in awe of the depth, clarity, subtlety, and precision of thought our students displayed during their matches. As importantly, their interactions with peer teams exuded humility, graciousness, and fair-mindedness.”
One of the two Upper School teams earned first place in the competition and will advance to compete in the semi-final round against teams from the Midwest later this month. The determination and success of both teams is the culmination of hard work and preparation dating back to October 2020. Congratulations to Upper School students Kiri Fitzpatrick, Charlie Rudge, Sophie Thomas, and Lily Napach for taking first place, and to Daniel Cai, Greg Occhiogrosso, Elizabeth Rudge, Ava Lattimore, Kristen Trivell, Ava Troso, and Isabella Fauber for taking part in the Ethics Bowl preparation and competition.
On an earlier date, eight Hackley Middle School students participated in the NYC Regional MS Ethics Bowl, discussing topics such as the ethics of reading someone’s personal diary and the removal of Confederate monuments. The students earned high scores in demonstrating their understanding of the range of issues that go into analyzing an ethical dilemma. Congratulations to Middle School students Jasper Q., Fox Q., N’Darri Bentsi-Addison P., Jack M., Vivek M., Abigail N., Jiya D., and Fiona P.
To engage students in thinking clearly about topics that really matter, and to promote ethical dialogue, civil discourse, and civic responsibility rank among the highest aspirations of Redefining Excellence. We are so proud of these students carrying the work forward in this way.