High school students grappled with moral dilemmas as part of an annual youth ethics conference hosted by the Rotary Club of Westlake Village on Thursday.

It's the 15th year the club has held the event in memory of United Methodist minister and Rotarian Homer Dickerson, who died in 1991.

Organizers said about 180 students from seven area high schools attended the event at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley.

Students gathered for breakfast and introductions before taking part in round-table discussions on teen suicide, cyberbullying, Internet cheating and performance-enhancing drugs. Teachers and Rotary Club members facilitated the groups.

Students from Newbury Park, Thousand Oaks, Westlake, Agoura, Oak Park, Calabasas and Simi Valley high schools focused on four scenarios submitted by students as part of a Rotary competition.

Arantxa Sanchez Cruz, 16, a junior at Westlake High School, said the four topics under discussion were very relevant to teens.

"Obviously, they don't apply to everybody, but they are important and we need to know how to figure out what to do if we ever are in those situations," she said. "The biggest thing would be the cyberbullying because with all the Internet and Facebook and things like that, we have access to other people's personal information and therefore we can cause damage, and so I think that's a big issue."

Andi Lorch, also a junior at Westlake, said peer pressure is intense.

"It's a really big problem at school, and a lot of people do choose what everyone else is doing over what's right," said Andi, 17. "I think it's really important that teens address it."

The conference featured a keynote speech by Mary Olson, general manager of KCLU, a National Public Radio station serving Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. It's based at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks.

"Ethics are not about feelings," she told the students. "It's not really about religion, and it's not just about following the law.

"How many times have you said to your parents, 'But everybody's doing that?' Ethics can't just be about cultural norms," she said.

Bill Notthoff, event chairman, said the club holds the conference each year to encourage students to think about how ethics play an important role throughout life.

"We don't try to teach them anything," he said. "We try to get them to learn it themselves."

Yajur Maker, 16, from Calabasas High School, said the conference was a valuable experience.

"Technically speaking, we're never thinking about ethics, but we're making those choices along the way," he said. "This conference is a like a wake-up call to see where these situations might come up in my life or realize I have seen these situations and this is what I should have done and this is what I did do right and this is what I did wrong,"

Also in attendance was Thousand Oaks High School senior Jackson Warner.

"Ethics is doing the right thing when nobody's watching, and I just hope that's the main point that everybody takes away from this," the 17-year-old said. "I hope they take what we learn here and apply it to real life. It may not be the cool way, but it's the right way."