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St. Andrew's-Sewanee School's first-ever Ethics Bowl team, the Thomists, took first place in the state championship on February 2 at University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

UT hosted its 10th annual Tennessee High School Ethics Bowl (THSEB) at the Holiday Inn at World’s Fair Park this past Saturday, February 2, with the team from first-time participant St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School crowned champions.

It is the second consecutive year a first-time participant and an all-girl team won the event—2018’s winning team was from Maryville High School. This year’s second-place team represented L&N STEM Academy in Knoxville.

Overall, 18 teams made of 115 high school students from 16 high schools across the state competed. It was the largest number of teams and students at a THSEB, which was organized by UT’s Department of Philosophy and Humanities Center and sponsored by Home Federal Bank.

“The spirit and essence of the Ethics Bowl are captured in the gathering of passionate and intelligent students who aim to articulate what is truly valuable and important about life,” said Alex Feldt, philosophy lecturer and coordinator of the THSEB. “This year we succeeded in providing more than a hundred young scholars from throughout Tennessee the opportunity to discuss issues which are critical to our state and country.”

The Ethics Bowl is designed to provide an opportunity for high school students to discuss controversial ethical issues they may encounter in the real world. Among the cases discussed in 2019 were whether it is more morally objectionable to pay for fake followers on social media than to pay for celebrity product endorsements, whether humans have a moral responsibility to bring back species driven to extinction by human activities, and whether a government is justified in restricting firearm ownership.

“By organizing the Ethics Bowl, UT allows students to prepare themselves for engaging in conversations they will undoubtedly encounter in college and beyond,” Feldt said. “It prepares them to be thoughtful citizens in our democracy.”

St. Andrews-Sewanee advances to compete at the National High School Ethics Bowl at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in April 5–7.


Brian Canever (865-974-0937,