Mar 14, 2023 |

Gravitas Hosts First Virtual Regional Ethics Bowl with NHSEBBridge

By Sean Riley

Gravitas NHSEBBridge Ethics Bowl

First Annual Virtual Event

On February 11th, 2023, Gravitas, in partnership with the National High School Ethics Bowl Bridge Program, hosted the first every virtual regional Ethics Bowl, with six teams competing from three different states. This year’s winners were Woodbridge High School from New Jersey. Woodbridge defeated the Gravitas team consisting of Yan Starodubets (Ukraine), Joseph Choi (New York), Talya Thomas (Rwanda), and Adenike Oyerinde (New Jersey) in the final round. Prior to the partnership between Gravitas and the NHSEB, international students were unable to participate in the competition, so the Gravitas team, spread across three continents, was unique in the history of Ethics Bowl.

Testimonials from Ethics Bowl Participants

We reached out to the Gravitas participants to get their impressions on their first ever Ethics Bowl. Here’s what they had to say:

Yan: Ethics Bowl is an interesting but pretty non-ordinary class. At first, I messed with lots of theories and hundreds of controversial questions. But as experience came, interest and understanding expanded rapidly. The tournament, however, was a bit complicated, maybe because it is my first Ethics Bowl tournament. In any case, it gave me lots of valuable experience and skills. Ethics Bowl showed me, that people can have thousands of points of view on only one question.

Joseph: The time I spent for the Ethics bowl with my peers was worthwhile. There were always challenging times, but it was valuable to get through those. It was bittersweet after the competition, as we all knew we had more to execute but couldn’t sometimes. However, overall, the competition was meaningful and provided a lesson for all of us. We will surely be better equipped and more bonded to advance in a stronger position for next year’s Ethics Bowl.

Talya: Doing Ethics Bowl was definitely one of my highlights of this year. It taught me how to work as a team and look at things from other perspectives. The competition was a mix of nervousness and joy for me. At first, I was nervous, but as the day went on, I was able to have fun. My team was a big part of this because it was really nice after all of our hard work to finally showcase it to people. I believe that my team was one of the main reasons that the Ethics Bowl was as fun as it was. I’m feeling pretty good about the next competition because we all now have more experience.

Adenike: Ethics Bowl is something I can confidently say is a valuable experience. Collectively thinking as a group to come up with ideas and arguments in order to prepare for the Ethics Bowl was exciting. Then, when the time finally came, my team and I got to engage in a meaningful discussion with other participants about serious moral topics. Not only was it thrilling, but it was informational. We learned about different philosophical viewpoints as well as different responses to moral topics. Even while I was nervous, I remembered I was a part of a team and I felt more confident. This was a rewarding experience as well as a fun one that I can reflect on for next year!

Dr. Sean Riley (Coach): I was really proud of how well our Gravitas students performed in their first ever competition. They demonstrated all of the qualities we stand for at Gravitas: love of truth, intellectual humility, charity towards one’s opponents, and skillful collaboration and communication across differences. They got to that point by dedicating hours and hours of time analyzing cases, studying moral theories, working out their differences, writing and revising their arguments, and practicing their speeches. One of the most gratifying things for me was that they got a chance to interact with and practice against our Stony Brook School campus team, which ended up winning the Long Island Regional Ethics Bowl. I love these campus/Gravitas crossover experiences and look forward to expanding opportunities for our online and in-person SBS students to build friendships and learn from each other.

Future Plans for the Gravitas Virtual Ethics Bowl

Next year, Gravitas intends to grow the competition so that more schools without nearby regional competitions and more students whose schools cannot support a team can benefit from participating in Ethics Bowl. Our goal is to grow the virtual regional competition to be the size of a typical in-person regional bowl and to produce winners who can compete and win divisional competitions and qualify for the national bowl at UNC Chapel Hill. If you or anyone you know is interested in participating in the Gravitas Virtual Ethics Bowl, reach out to .

Gravitas is a global extension of The Stony Brook School. Gravitas students take Stony Brook School courses online via live instruction and earn a Stony Brook School diploma.

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