Send GLHS to the Nat'l Ethics Bowl!

$3,205 of $3,000 goal

Raised by 80 people in 9 months
Gregorio Luperon High School is a transitional bilingual public high school that serves newly-immigrated English language learners from Spanish-speaking countries. We have four years (and often less) to mold our students, most of whom arrive with no English, into college-ready, curious and independent learners. 

This year, for the first time ever, GLHS sent a team to the New York City Ethics Bowl. In an Ethics Bowl, students must collaborate to build judgments around challenging ethical dilemmas. This year at NYU, we debated the merits of varying philosophies, compared theories of justice, and strategized around how best to achieve equity. Our team is comprised of high school seniors, all of whom qualify for free lunch, full PELL grants and who have been in the US for fewer than four years. Our performance in the competition earned the highest overall judge's score in the finals and qualified us to move to Nationals! 

We cannot receive funding from our district because of a travel ban between New York and North Carolina. (Due to the controversial NC "bathroom bill," New York State and New York City have banned all non-essential state-sponsored travel to North Carolina.) Your donation will contribute to the cost of round-trip transportation to UNC Chapel Hill from NYC, lodging, and meals.

Visitors to our school always compliment our students for their kindness, heart, patience, and collaborative spirit. However, in this competition, they have also demonstrated the breadth and depth of their intellectual humility.   In representing New York City at the National High School Ethics Bowl, our team represents the diversity and promise of this great city, as well as the  American Dream itself.

Please donate today!

Gregorio Luperon High School es una escuela secundaria bilingüe de transición que brinda servicios a estudiantes recién llegados de países hispanohablantes. Tenemos cuatro años (y con frecuencia menos) para moldear a nuestros estudiantes, la mayoría de los cuales llegan sin experiencia con el idioma inglés, a estudiantes listos para la universidad, curiosos e independientes.

Por primera vez este año, GLHS envió un equipo al Ethics Bowl de la Ciudad de Nueva York. En un Ethics Bowl, los estudiantes deben colaborar para construir juicios sobre desafiantes dilemas éticos. Este año, debatimos sobre los méritos de las perspectivas filosóficas, comparamos las diferentes nociones de justicia y diseñamos estrategias para lograr la equidad. Nuestro equipo está compuesto por estudiantes de último año de secundaria, todos los cuales califican para almuerzo gratis, becas PELL completas y que han estado en los Estados Unidos por menos de cuatro años.

Lamentablemente, no podemos recibir fondos de nuestro distrito debido a una prohibición de viajar entre New York y Carolina del Norte. (Debido al controversial proyecto de “ley de baño” de Carolina del Norte, el Estado de Nueva York y la Ciudad de Nueva York han prohibido todos los viajes no esenciales patrocinados por el estado a Carolina del Norte.) Su donación contribuirá al costo del transporte de ida y vuelta a UNC Chapel Hill desde Nueva York, alojamiento y comidas no patrocinadas.

Los visitantes de nuestra escuela siempre felicitan a nuestros estudiantes por su amabilidad, corazón, paciencia y espíritu colaborativo. Sin embargo, en esta competencia, también hemos podido demostrar la amplitud y profundidad de la humildad intelectual de nuestros niños. Al representar a la ciudad de Nueva York en el National High School Ethics Bowl, nuestros estudiantes representan la diversidad y la promesa de esta gran ciudad, así como el Sueño Americano mismo.

¡Por favor done hoy!
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We owe a debt of gratitude to everyone who contributed their time, money and support to our team's accomplishments at this year's National High School Ethics Bowl. Thank you.

I have had a magnet with the following quote on my refrigerator for many years. It has always served as a personal philosophy that has comforted and pushed me. I feel it is the perfect summation of our team’s experience at the NHSEB.

"The world is not respectable...
It is mortal, tormented, confused, deluded forever.
But it is shot through with beauty, with love,
With glints of courage and laughter,
And in these, the spirit blooms
And struggles to the light amid the thorns."
- George Santayana

There is a parallel here to ethics itself, and the 27 cases they’ve studied, written about and discussed endlessly this year. The work of moral philosophy helps us to acknowledge the injustices that exist in our world and articulate a vision for its improvement. It helps us confront with humility the challenges of being human, the threats that linger from our collective past, and the looming uncertainties of the future. It teaches us that we are the same, but we are also very different. It stirs our deepest values and tests them, over and over.

The quote also speaks to GLHS’s journey as a team. At UNC, they listened as students from across the US asserted though well-reasoned analysis what it would mean for our world to become a better place. A cliché, perhaps, but certainly the truth.

Our award was not undeserved - our team embodied the Spirit of the Ethics Bowl in every way. Through their prep and competition, they worked together, challenged and supported one another both intellectually and emotionally. They strived to live up to an exceptional vision for themselves and their community, and they did so even when parts of that community were dismaying, dismissive or, even worse, silent.

But, as the quote tells us, the world is not fair. As they competed, our students faced constant reminders of what they have not been given. Though we were certainly out-reasoned in each round, it never felt quite fair. It was impossible not to see the ways the competition itself highlighted these injustices. The teams that won were exceptional and impressive in every way (as well as gracious and lovely competitors). But in round after round, their talents presented the great privilege of exceptional education and the tragedies of unequal access and representation.

Other students in this position may have given up. I personally had my moments of self-pity, and contemplated not returning for the second day when it was clear we had lost. It seemed so unfair and it hurt. But our students were the ones who reminded me that they could have done better. They took ownership of their mistakes but were also grateful to see the talents that exist beyond their bubble. As I tried to locate my anger in external factors, they wisely reminded me of their own power, and the extent of their belief that with more practice, they would get there. I imagine the most ethical path in this case accounts for both the need for systemic justice and individual responsibility. Whatever that balance, though, there is clearly more work for us all to do.

When I arrived at breakfast on Sunday, I saw each of them sitting alone in their professional attire, studying notes for our last round. Despite having no shot at the finals, there they were, still striving to live up to their own expectations for themselves.

Of course, this last round turned out to be their best, as they compelled their colleagues to see that our country has an ethical obligation to remove Confederate Monuments regardless of any historical whitewashing. They disagreed with the opposing team and asserted that despite increased hostility and potential for abuse, social media vigilantism against Neo-Nazis provides a net positive for society. In this round, they lost to the championship team by a single point!

As one of the students told me, “The point is not about winning; it is about learning.” As an educator, this humbled me and held a mirror up to my frustration. It made me want to act with greater integrity, to align my values with my actions.

This weekend, our students reminded me of the second part of that quote above, the part that makes ethics, and indeed, a fulfilling academic life, a worthwhile endeavor - the reminder that despite its evils and confusions, the world holds beautiful promise if we trust ourselves to do what we can together.

None of this learning would have been possible without the generosity and influence of all our donors and those who believed in us. Again, we thank you all so much.
Bob Landenson Spirit Award Winners!
Our Team along with their Support Crew!
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Thank you so much to all of our amazing donors! We are more than halfway there in just two days!
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Raised by 80 people in 9 months
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