By Deborah Oh
A new type of academic challenge is now available to La Cañada High School students with the advent of Ethics Bowl, a discussion-centered competition based in philosophy. La Cañada High School’s Dasein Club competed in a battle of wits at the regionals, held on January 30 at Cal Poly Pomona, for the first time this year. Headed by president Alex Zhao, juniors Daniel Oh, Chris Motia, Zachary Ling, and Charlie Reynolds faced off against teams from other top high schools to present on various ethical dilemmas, or cases, and answer questions from the judges.
Leading up to the competition, the members met weekly to analyze the cases and practice their speaking skills. In the final week, they simulated practice rounds with their advisor, Mr. Hainey, to prepare.
At the end of Ethics Bowl, the La Cañada High School Dasein Club came out victorious with second place in the regional competition, showing that practice truly pays off.
On his experiences at Ethics Bowl, Daniel Oh said, “Before the first match, I felt really nervous because it was our first time actually competing. We weren’t sure what to expect or how difficult it would be. But after the first match, we gained a lot of confidence. It was an awesome experience practicing with the guys on the team and getting to know them, and I hope that we can win next year.”
On the team’s performance, Chris Motia commented, “Somehow Alex Zhao carried us to second place.”
Alex deflected this praise modestly and attributed their success to their great team dynamic.
“Our teamwork was fantastic at the competition. We worked together to answer questions and analyze ethical problems. We also worked with Mr. Hainey to improve our understanding of key ethical concepts and adapt to the judges who were at the Ethics Bowl.”
As founder and president of Dasein Club, Alex has high hopes for next year’s team.
He said, “Dasein Club was a way to bring my interest in philosophy to the student body and improve ethics-oriented education at LCHS. We only had five people participate in the competition this year, but I hope that more people at LCHS will want to compete once they learn more about the content of the competition and get the chance to practice with us.”
Chris had one piece of advice to offer prospective members: “Don’t eat cheese enchiladas if you are lactose intolerant.”
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