MEDIA ALERT

For Release: 06-05-13

Contacts: John Davis
thekidsphilosophyslam@gmail.com
507-467-0102

URL: www.philosophyslam.org


Press Release:
For Immediate Release: 06-05-13
Contact: John Davis, 507-467-0102, thekidsphilosophyslam@gmail.com


Maryland high school student Christopher Mergen is crowned "The Most Philosophical Student in America" and winner of the 2013 National Kids Philosophy Slam.

Lanesboro, MN – Which is more powerful, Love or Hate? Christopher Mergen, age 17, from the Park School of Baltimore in Baltimore, Maryland won the 13th annual National Kids Philosophy Slam by successfully arguing that love overcomes hate and earned the title of "The Most Philosophical Student in America".

The 2013 National Kids Philosophy Slam challenged students from around the country to answer the question: "Which is more powerful, Love or Hate?” The response was tremendous, with over 4,000 entries submitted from students across the nation. A panel of philosophy judges selected Christopher Mergen as the winner of the 13th annual National Kids Philosophy Slam. For his philosophical efforts, Christopher Mergen received a gold medal, $250, and the title of "The Most Philosophical Student in America".

Mergen writes in his winning essay, “Unlike its counterpart, hatred - a palpable darkness that momentarily stifles all that it descends upon - the power of love lies in its resilience. In the words of Nelson Mandela, love is "a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished." We humans are drawn to love's blaze: it shines in the darkness, a source of courage, reminding us of who we are and what it means to care for others.” He then goes on to tell the amazing story of his grandfather, a prisoner of a Nazi concentration camp in World War II and how sometimes the smallest things can redeem us from horror and hatred. “They rekindle the fire within our souls that drives us forward, radiant against the night.”

Christopher Mergen is a junior at the Park School of Baltimore in Baltimore, Maryland, where he is currently a member of the school’s Arctic research initiative. Christopher is very involved in his school, running the school’s podcast, doing sound engineering for school productions, and running cross country. Christopher enjoys reading about public transportation, urban planning, and midcentury urban renewal. He adores English and history, focusing mainly on that of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His primary passions include studying original manuscripts and old books in addition to exploring and learning more about his city of Baltimore. Both his teacher, Gregory Brandt, and his Writing Practicum class were instrumental in the creation and revisions of his winning essay.
Christopher’s inspiration for this essay was his grandfather, François Mergen. Born in 1925 in Redange, Luxembourg, he lived a very impressive life. After failing to escape to England when WWII broke out, he joined the Luxembourgish Resistance. Captured by the Nazi forces, he was then sent to the Hinzert concentration camp and was forced to march and disarm enemy bombs. He managed to escape and became an investigator for the War Crimes commission. He went on to get a degree and a doctorate in Forestry, and he eventually went on to become the Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
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Quincy Gibbs of Oklahoma was the 2nd place winner of the National Kids Philosophy Slam. His winning essay stated “Love's power radiates from one who surrounds oneself with love. Hate may be easy, common knowledge, and simple, but love is addicting and contagious. Love brings one's stagnant heart to life. Love can overcome all obstacles while hate surrenders to any inconveniences. Love is an all-powerful emotion that provides life with a reason to continue.”


The Mission of the National Kids Philosophy Slam is to give kids a voice and to inspire kids to think by unlocking their intellectual and creative potential through a unique and powerful philosophical forum. This unique program allows kids to grapple with life's big issues in an accessible format, as younger students answer philosophical questions through artwork, poetry and music. The Kids Philosophy Slam Program creator, John P. Davis, also created Nationally recognized Great American Think-Off, which was designed to make philosophy accessible to the everyday person in a fun sports-type format. The Kids Philosphy Slam is sponsored in part by the Lanesboro arts Center in Lanesboro, MN.


The Kids Philosophy Slam has attracted nationwide media coverage, including the NBC Today Show, National Public Radio, The New York Times, TIME Magazine for Kids, The National Education Association and the Christian Science Monitor. The 2012 National Kids Philosophy Slam also selected national philosophy winners in Kindergarten through the eighth grade as well as an international winner.


Media: To review the finalists’ winning essays and background information, visit: http://www.philosophyslam.org/prizes. To secure National Philosophy Slam interviews with finalists, or winners in any grade level, contact John Davis at 507-467-0102 or email at thekidsphilosophyslam@gmail.com.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Global warming not the greatest challenge facing humankind as
Washington D.C. area high school student Meghan Nelson is named the winner of the 2008 National Kids Philosophy Slam.


Lanesboro, MN - Is global warming the greatest challenge facing humankind? Meghan Nelson, age 16, from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology won the eighth annual National Kids Philosophy Slam by successfully arguing that global warming was not the greatest challenge facing humankind and earned the title of "The Most Philosophical Student in America".

The 2008 National Kids Philosophy Slam challenged students from around the country to answer the question: "Is global warming the greatest challenge facing humankind?" The response was tremendous, with over 5,000 entries submitted from students across the nation and from around the world. By an overwhelming 3-1 margin, most students did not think that global warming was the greatest challenge facing humankind. A panel of philosophy judges selected Meghan Nelson as the winner of the eighth annual Kids Philosophy Slam and "Most Philosophical Student in America".

Nelson writes in her winning essay "Global warming, if we continue in our usual passive ways, will eventually overwhelm the precious environment...This still is not humanity’s greatest challenge. It is not global warming which will be the ultimate undoing of mankind, but our alarming lethargy and passiveness to take a stand against it. Global warming is simply a side effect, the enemy is us, and we must overcome our apathy. This formidable lethargy, from not only being isolated from the environment but also not working to pinpoint and correct the major causes of global warming, will cause humankind to continue on its path to disappear".

Meghan Nelson currently is a junior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia. Her favorite subjects are history, any
sciences but especially biology, and of course philosophy. Meghan is a member of the Environmental Impact Club, and in her free time she reads and plays the piano.

Daniel Leef, 16, of Raleigh, North Carolina, was the 2nd place winner of National Kids Philosophy Slam. Leef based his argument that global warming was not the greatest challenge facing humankind citing the philosophy of utilitarianism of John Stuart Mill. Leef writes "Using Mill's utilitarian philosophy as our guide, I do not believe that global warming is our greatest challenge at the moment. Disease causes immediate death and suffering for many of our fellow humans. Conquering pandemic disease is the greatest challenge of our time...The third place winer was Elizabeth Soricelli, 17, from Preston High School, Bronx, New York, argued that the biggest threat to humankind was humanity itself, and the threat of nuclear weapons. Soricelli stated "Global warming is definitely not the greatest challenge facing mankind: the biggest threat to mankind is mankind. As the philosopher Bertrand Russell once said, "Either man will abolish war, or war will abolish man." The fourth place winner was Kayla Bruun, 17, and the fifth place winner was Rex Gelb, 17, both are students from The Park School of Baltimore in Brooklandville Maryland.

The National Kids Philosophy Slam provides a powerful opportunity to help kids, teachers and parents grapple with life's big issues in an accessible format. The Kids Philosophy Slam Program creator, John P. Davis, an artist and visionary, also created The Great American Think-Off, which was designed to make philosophy accessible to the everyday person in a fun sports-type format.

The Kids Philosophy Slam has attracted nationwide media coverage, including the NBC Today Show, National Public Radio, The New York Times, TIME Magazine for Kids, The National Education Association and the Christian Science Monitor.

The 2008 National Kids Philosophy Slam also selected national winners in Kindergarten through the eighth grade.


Media: To review the finalists’ winning essays and background information, visit: http://www.philosophyslam.org/press_fin.html To secure Philosophy Slam interviews with finalists, or winners in any grade level, contact John Davis at 507-467-0107or email at info@philosophyslam.org.

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