Hello, and welcome to the 2021-2022 season of the National High School Ethics Bowl!
This past year has been a difficult one for us all. In addition to the individual challenges we all have faced, institutions large and small have struggled to navigate seemingly once-in-a-lifetime events. The COVID-19 pandemic has destabilized the United States and the world, and the longer-term implications of the accompanying social and economic crises are still being discovered and felt. The country also continues to struggle with difficult problems from its past and its present as it looks toward its future, with a reckoning around questions of identity, equity, and belonging. Moreover, we have grappled with all this amidst closed schools, natural disasters, and a polarized and often scorched earth political climate.
Among the many things which have changed in recent months, one thing has remained fundamentally stable. The National High School Ethics Bowl’s community not only persists—it thrives. Our participants are as resilient, present, and active as ever. Students from all across the United States have continued to do that hard work of thinking, talking, and working together on controversial moral and political issues—some of the very issues which define the complex times in which we live. It is precisely this sort of upheaval and instability which clarifies that the habits of mind the NHSEB cultivates are more important now than ever. The students this program serves, after all, are the inheritors and future leaders of our society. Given what I continue to see and hear from them, I am as confident as ever that our future is in good hands.
During our 2020-2021 season, our community achieved much, despite the disruptions of COVID-19. With circumstances continuing to evolve rapidly, uncertainty persists about the extent to which we’ll be able to gather together for the conversations we know and love. However, while the 2021-2022 season may not be a complete “return to normal,” I am confident that this year’s Ethics Bowl experience will continue to be a consistent and rewarding one, regardless of modality. As ever, we are committed to ensuring that all students can access the academic, social, and civic benefits of the NHSEB.
The coming year may once again necessitate changes to our usual ways of operating. I am grateful for your flexibility, resilience, and hard work to continue making this activity everything it is and can be. As my team navigates another unprecedented season with the above goals in mind, I will also look to you—organizers, teachers, volunteers, and, yes, students too—for input and feedback on the process. At any time during the season, please don’t hesitate to contact HQ at email@example.com with any questions or concerns. As always, I look forward to meeting many of you this year, and to sharing and celebrating this remarkable program’s continued success—even and especially during hard times—with all of you!
Gratefully and excitedly yours,
Alex Richardson, Ph.D.
Director, National High School Ethics Bowl