James River High goes undefeated as the state High School Ethics Bowl champion

James River High beat seven high school teams from across Virginia to capture the third annual High School Ethics Bowl held last month at the Collegiate School in Henrico County.

The Rapids were undefeated (3-0) in tournament play and earned the second seed in the playoffs. James River advanced to the final on a tiebreaker against Atlee High. In the final, the Rapids defeated previously unbeaten Thomas Jefferson of Alexandria 2-1 to become the state Ethics Bowl champions.

The Collegiate School event was a qualifying event for the National High School Ethics Bowl Championship. The National High School Ethics Bowl (NHSEB) promotes respectful, supportive and rigorous discussion of ethics among high school students nationwide.

“These types of thought-provoking competitions are preparing our students to navigate through challenging moral issues with an open-mind and a systematic approach,” said School Board chair Dr. Javaid Siddiqi, Midlothian district representative. “James River students were part of more than 3,900 high school students from across the country who studied cases and dissected important ethical issues, and we applaud them for the critical thinking displayed in showing they are among the state’s best.”

Each fall, the NHSEB releases a set of cases covering a broad range of issues, which then serve as the focus for the year.  Teams meet together regularly, with a coach, to research the cases, to discuss the issues they raise and to identify clearly how they think those issues should be addressed.  Wrapped around this work is a model for the competitions that rewards students for the depth of their thought, their ability to think carefully and analytically about complex issues, and the respect they show to the diverse perspectives of their peers.

Unlike a traditional debate, Ethics Bowl participants do not debate opposing views. Instead they are judged on how well they have examined their case and how clearly they state their position.

With the state victory, James River advanced to a super regional playoff, where the Rapids were defeated by St. Ursula Academy from Toledo, Ohio. The James River Ethics Bowl Team is comprised of 13 students and is coached by Timothy Couillard.