High school students argue ethics at TRU

Canadian High School Ethics Bowl Regional Championships held at TRU’s International Building

TRU’s philosophy department helped to host their first-ever Canadian High School Ethics Bowl Regional Championships at TRU for their 2020 year. High school students from around Kamloops, including Sahali Secondary School, South Kamloops Secondary School, and NorKam Senior Secondary School, competed to win the regional championship title while discussing different ethical issues.

Six different topics were discussed at this year’s ethics bowl, including automation, animal rights, vaccination autonomy, sexting rules, climate change refugees and generational theft. Students had 40 minutes to discuss the ethical dilemmas of the various topics, and the top competitors went to the final round.

Dr. Jenna Woodrow, a professor in the TRU philosophy, history and politics department planned this event for high school students to get involved with philosophy on a more in-depth level.

“At its essence, the ethics bowl is a way of building a community of inquirers, teachers, professors and really importantly students who are equipped with undertaking problem-solving in a collegial way,” Woodrow said.

Woodrow also added that “in the one sense it’s a way for high school students to get engaged with philosophy, more fully engaged with the methods and the contents of philosophy, but I think one of the really important things is also the ways in which that the content and method serves to make you a better person and a better reasoner.”

Fortunately for Woodrow, she had a lot of help putting on this first annual event for high schoolers in Kamloops. Many TRU students volunteered with the event, including students who organized the philosophy, history and politics conference, the Philosophy Club, and students in the philosophy department. Woodrow did mention all the help she received from various colleagues and programs at TRU.

One important program Woodrow applied to was the ‘Mind the Gap’ program which helped with funding for the ethics bowl. Woodrow said, “the Mind the Gap program is funding that’s through the centre for excellence in learning and teaching at TRU and it’s about actually minding the gap between high school and university. This we thought was a really great way of getting high school students into university and getting them talking to university students.”

But most importantly, Woodrow thanked Nicholas Tanchuk and Nicolas Fillion for their support and encouragement. Woodrow said, “I owe both of them a huge debt of gratitude for their encouragement and also for providing me with a lot of resources.”

The winning four students were from South Kamloops Secondary School and will head to Winnipeg for the national championships later in the school year.