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Upper School Ethics Bowl Team's Path to Nationals

Members of the Upper School Ethics Bowl Team sitting at a table at Nationals.

As the Kent Place Upper School Ethics Bowl Team prepared for the National Championship, their journey was marked by dedication and camaraderie. Over the past four months, the 14 members, organized into two groups, had honed their skills under the guidance of their coach, Karen Rezach, Director of the Ethics Institute.

Meeting during lunchtime, after school, and even over their breaks, the groups balanced serious preparation with lighthearted banter. Little did they expect that their dedication would lead to an unexpected scenario — the groups clinched the top two spots at the New Jersey High School Ethics Bowl, earning the team its eighth consecutive state title.

Their victory at the state level was a moment of triumph, validating the effort and sacrifice made by every member of the team as a whole. 

One of the three co-captains, Annabelle Walter, emphasized the team’s unity, despite the friendly rivalry that emerged in the final round. On a personal level, she attributed her passion for ethics to Kent Place’s programming and her involvement with the Ethics Bowl Team.

The students’ success extended beyond the state level. In a sudden-death conference playoff, they defeated Paraclete Academy, earning them a spot at the National Championships at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, on April 13–14.

Led by Annabelle and the other co-captains, Maddie Popolow and Sahana Kapoor — all seniors — they faced off against 23 other teams, competing in four rounds, tackling tough ethical questions, such as whether home buyers should write “love letters” to sellers and what values public schools should teach and whether parents should have the right to remove their children from those schools if their values are in conflict. With each round, they argued their points with conviction, drawing from their collective knowledge and experiences.

Along with the captains, Sophia Builione '24, Miranda Wang '24, Naina Bhardwaj '25, Dvita Bhattacharya '25, Charlotte Grushkin '25, Ava Builione '26, Annabelle Chow '26, Katie Mackay '27, Ayushi Wadhwa '27, Claire Cherill '26, and Tara Khurana '26 each brought her unique perspective to the table.

Despite their best efforts, the team landed in 11th place — a disappointment for them compared to past performances, when the KPS teams finished in the top four — but the students had done the work, and were rightfully pleased with their achievement.

Standing together, they celebrated their accomplishment, knowing they’d made their mark on the Ethics Bowl circuit. Kudos to Dr. Rezach and the team: Kent Place School is very proud!