Nogales High School delivers amazing performance at Ethics Bowl competition

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Bradley Kwon, Junior

Last month, Nogales’ Ethics Bowl team participated in a regional competition.

On February 8, 2020, the event, held at Chapman University, comprised of 20 high schools determined to earn candidacy at the state-wide competition. Nogales High School was fortunate to be a second-time participant at this meeting of the minds.

The prestigious competition mandated that each high school compete in three rounds of ethical debates. The teams strove to earn the score of 3-0 for each round, giving them the chance to be 1 of 2 team-finalists in the regional competition. For the three rounds, schools were paired to test their ethical perspectives with a panel of judges prevalent in each round to critique the teams’ answers.

The material included fifteen cases or scenarios that addressed ethical issues and boundaries. Some cases included: forced chemotherapy, political correctness and trauma porn. The cases allowed certain arguments to be proposed and countered by the opposing teams.

Nogales’ team consisted of 5 juniors: Fernando Rax, Bradley Kwon, Jamie Cervantes, Caitlin Cabanilla and Abigail Valles. The competitors were driven to perform exceptionally and win at least 1 out of 3 rounds. Jamie Cervantes asserted: “Last year, we were not able to win any of the rounds. This year, however, we were confident that we could win at least one round. We are a stronger team with a stronger morale.”

The team first competed against Polytechnic High School and lost by a miniscule margin. The team members’ hopes escalated as the small point-difference demonstrates their skill in the field of ethics.

The team learned from their mistakes, which included ineffective communication and a lack of ethical analysis, and beat Santa Margarita High School in the second round. They rejoiced at their first victory and mustered the confidence necessary to beat Cathedral Catholic High School in the final round.

The teams’ new record of two victories and one loss was an amazing accomplishment in the eyes of Mr. Malignaggi, the head coach of the team: “I am proud that in one year, we became one of the better teams in the competition. Our team held their own and clearly demonstrated their argumentative ability in every round.”

The five members are hoping to recruit several new members willing to compete in next year’s challenging event. They are also seeking methods to incorporate today’s political, economic and social issues into preparing for the competition and to spread awareness of these issues.