Marion Comi-Morog ’17 and Catie Turner ’17 Awarded 1st and 2nd Place in National Philosophy Slam Competition

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Park juniors Marion Comi-Morog and Catie Turner were awarded first and second place in the 2016 Kids Philosophy Slam National competition. Marion, awarded first place, was named The 2016 Most Philosophical Student in America. She also received The James W. Buchan Award for writing excellence. Catie was awarded second place for Most Philosophical Student in America.

The Kids Philosophy Slam is an annual K-12 program designed to give kids a voice and to inspire them to unlock their intellectual and creative potential through a unique philosophical forum. The program also helps promote critical thinking skills and encourage dialogue with other students and adults. Participants are asked philosophical questions such as “What is the meaning of life?” and, depending on their age groups, respond in words, artwork, poetry, or song. The top four high school students debate the question at the national finals, and the winner is named “The Most Philosophical Student in America.” Each grade level also has its own national winner. 

Below is an excerpt from Marion’s winning essay in response to the topic for 2016: Imagination or Knowledge: Which has a greater impact on society? 

Imagine if we as a people were only to know knowledge. The act of individualized contemplation abandoned, humans around the globe would communicate only through drones of predetermined facts. Horace shares the equation of Newton’s second law of motion. Ethel blinks. Unhindered, Horace heart-wrenchingly replies with the case that 73,478,465,482,364,582 multiplied by 837,748,987,629,187,897,362,783,883,728,191 equals approximately 6.155651×10^49. By this time, Horace stands alone, Ethel having moved on to live out her monotonous life, preferably in the company of those less talkative. Despite that the calculation in completion comprises of merely 80 symbols, many would not have read the numbers in entirety, much less entertain such tedious conversation. The fundamental truth is that the reader simply doesn’t care. Knowledge alone remains an insipid string of symbols on a page, the artless memory of past invention incapable of influencing society. Only through imagination may the path toward distinguished civilization be made clear, wielding knowledge of the past to summon fantasy to the world of reality. Dull words of the page come to life in brilliant color when knowledge is given a purpose, and shaped into something new.

Congratulations to Marion and Catie!

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