STUDENT VOICES: BUILDING A LEGACY AT WAYNE MEMORIAL HIGH SCHOOL

IN ETHICS BOWL VICTORIES, FIRST-GENERATION COLLEGE STUDENTS FIND TOOLS FOR SUCCESS

As the 2018 school year comes to a close, seniors on the Wayne High School Ethics Bowl team are celebrating both an impressive legacy and an exciting next step.

The Wayne seniors are leaders of a team that is the first in Michigan Ethics Bowl history to win the Bowl twice in a row – 2017 and 2018. The team also boasts two impressive recent National Ethics Bowl (NHSEB) runs, winning the Spirit of the Bowl award in 2017. The award, voted on by teams from each state who attend the NHSEB, is given to the team that best represents the ideals of the Bowl.

But beyond their championships, the Ethics Bowl has also made a difference for these seniors as they think about their next step. Five of the seniors – Ashley Highland, Shivam Patel, Sarah Craig, Zoe Wolf and Javon Johnson – will be first-generation college students, planning to attend Michigan State University, Duke University, Georgetown University, Eastern Michigan University and Michigan State University, respectively.

Jeanine DeLay, A2Ethics president and Michigan Bowl organizer, said the Wayne team exemplifies the aspirations and ambition behind the Ethics Bowl Partnership, which includes the University of Michigan Department of Philosophy Outreach program members and a growing number of Michigan High Schools, led by singular teachers. 

“The Wayne team’s accomplishments and the tradition of excellence that English teacher David Kangas has established, with the strong support of the Wayne Memorial Administration, is completely in keeping with the aims of the Ethics Bowl program. This program gives all Michigan high school students a chance to show how valuable it is to be thinking citizens as well as informed citizens in an integrated and complex world.”

The seniors say Ethics Bowl has been an enlightening, community-building experience that has helped expose them to a college academic setting. In their own words:

Javon Johnson: “Ethics Bowl has influenced my high school career by changing the type of individual I am. It has taught me to always examine the reasons behind why people make the decisions they make before blaming or getting angry at them. Without Ethics Bowl I don't think I would be half the critical thinker I am now.”

“Through the cases I learned to love and enjoy diving deep into very interesting and controversial issues…and to be more accepting of other opinions and the value of conversing with someone you have a different view with rather than arguing. Now I have no issue having long talks about issues someone disagrees with me on because I goal is often now just to dive deeper and have an enriching conversation. I hope to use these valuable communication skills when I enter college at Michigan State next year.”

Zoe Wolf: "Oftentimes (Ethics Bowl) cases hit very close to home for our team. Ethics Bowl gives us an opportunity to share our experiences with those who may be less connected to the topics. I also believe the way we work so well together has really pushed us to get where we are. We understand that every member of our team has their own strengths and weaknesses and we have learned how to work off of each other to help us prosper."

Shivam Patel: “Some of my favorite moments were the late night conversations we had in the lobby working on the cases during the National High School Ethics Bowl. It seemed that the night air of North Carolina brought up the best ideas in our minds. We had the best conversations about ethics that we ever had in those late nights in the lobby, in my opinion. I also really enjoyed talking to other students and being able to engage in meaningful discourse with people from all over the country. “

BACKGROUND ABOUT A2ETHICS AND THE BOWL:

Founded in 2008, A2Ethics is an all-volunteer, nonprofit dedicated to promoting ethics and philosophy initiatives through events, educational programs and civic collaborations in local communities. Its many projects and activities include partnering with the University of Michigan Dept. of Philosophy Outreach Program in sponsoring the annual Michigan High School Ethics Bowl.


The Michigan Ethics Bowl League includes all high schools participating in the Ethics Bowl. As of 2018, thirteen schools from 6 SE Michigan counties belong to the state League. All Michigan high schools are encouraged to join the state League and the National Ethics Bowl movement.

For more information, visit www.a2ethics.org