Dear NHSEB community,
In my tenure as Director, I have learned much about the scope and reach of the National High School Ethics Bowl, and continue to see evidence of the program’s deep impact wherever it flourishes. I am consistently impressed by the hard work and commitment of our large and diverse community of people who participate in, organize, and support Ethics Bowl all across the United States, and indeed, increasingly, across the world. I am truly grateful for your efforts.
As 2019 draws to a close, I would like to ask that you remember the NHSEB’s mission and impact, and consider a contribution as part of your year-end giving. As we expand our reach all across the country, now is a particularly crucial time for support. In view of this, for a limited time, we are excited to announce that all financial gifts up to $50,000 will be matched, dollar for dollar, thanks to a generous gift from the Marc Sanders Foundation.
You may take pride in knowing that your gift, of whatever size, provides vital support for the core mission and values of the National High School Ethics Bowl, and enhances the empowering and educational experiences our program provides for nearly 5,000 students, representing over 500 teams from nearly 400 schools. These students compete in 40 regional high school ethics bowls, spread across 31 states, and their winners will meet in Nationals competition this coming April.
All across the country students are sitting down to the difficult task of thinking hard together about the most pressing issues of our time—from assessing the student loan crisis to evaluating plantation weddings, from engaging with hate speech to meeting the threat of climate change. In some states, competition is off to an early start, with regionals having already occurred in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Florida. These students, of course, are the reason we are all here, and the reason that many of you likely feel so strongly about our program. A New York Times op-ed earlier this Fall argued that the Ethics Bowl format provides a venue for students to hone their skills and work together in truly collaborative fashion, even over deeply entrenched disagreements. Authors Jonathan Ellis and Francesca Hovagimian point out that “Disagreeing constructively is a skill—one of the most difficult and important there is. In encouraging students to practice this skill, the Ethics Bowl fosters what may be the most important intellectual virtue of all: openness to changing your mind.” An overwhelming majority of participating students affirm that participation in the NHSEB empowers them and helps them to sharpen skills they will need to engage and thrive in an increasingly diverse and complicated world:
One student who participated in our most recent Nationals competition summarizes things: “[The NHSEB] is an experience unlike any other. It is both the most fun I’ve ever had while also stretching my critical thinking skills and helping me engage in civil discourse in a whole new way. The cases are interesting and multi-faceted, the students are thoughtful and intelligent, and the directors and volunteers are extremely hardworking and kind. I am beyond grateful for this experience and the skills and friendships I’ve developed because of it.”
Providing these very spaces and opportunities for students constitutes the core mission that lies at the heart of the National High School Ethics Bowl. A democratic society depends on citizens’ ability and willingness to reflect on, discuss, and, yes, vigorously disagree about core values in a way that is respectful, civil, and productive. It is these skills which the NHSEB fosters in the students it serves, and they are hungry for the chance to think and work together on the issues that affect their lives. Your generosity helps us realize this mission, and brings the virtues and values of democratic citizenship to students across the United States and around the world. I hope you’ll consider supporting us as we look forward to 2020.
Gratefully, and with warm wishes for a wonderful holiday season,
Director, National High School Ethics Bowl