Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jumping Off the Diving Board

Today we basically started off by discussing the movie we watched last night. This was followed up by two presenters at the same time! Leading the discussion about Women and Politics were Marcia Cogne-Ting, Director of the Women's Fund and Myrth York, former Rhode Island State Senator. There was a point brought up about why women run for leadership and the answer was because there is always a problem. Everyone shared why they were a leader and it was because they wanted to change something, thus proving the answer to be true within the class. Now I used the "jumping off the diving board" as my title because Ms. York said it, and it basically means to take a risk, but you won't really know what will happen once you jump. However it was agreed upon both of them that the risk was worth it. I also find a connection in through these words "You make a decision only to be led back to the fork on the road." There is always a challenge and one just has to face it head on! In working with a foundation, one has to negotiate; that is the main thing! If you are not able to talk about a certain balance, then you know you can be cheated easily.
A fun activity that I like was the values auction. We wrote out a list of values such as perseverance, humor, caring, etc. Then we broke up into groups and had a small auction on which value we wanted most. It was really fun!
In the afternoon we basically talked about ethics and leadership. We read many articles that held very difficult answers and it contained a lot of ethical dilemmas! It really questioned what one would do under those circumstances. I really did not know how to respond! The right thing to do always seemed bad, but the selfish one seemed more plausible. Truly a very interesting subject to touch on. Now I must finish my report!


Charles Ramsey said...

Ethics are critical. The ILC tries to work with the highest of ethics and this is one reason we created the blog. We wanted our supporters to see that we were putting their contributions to "good use" and the best way to show that was in being transparent.

Everyone who wants to know can see first hand through your comments and pictures. Don Gosney has mentioned on a couple of occassions that sending you back east was "worth every penny". He is right and he is able to make the case because everyone has sacrificied and contributed to the blog as well as taking their classes seriously and not taking anything for granted.

For the most part this has been a flawless project that has yielded great results. We have changed students attitudes about seeing more than just the Bay Area for going to College, and we have made a big name for our district through the hard work and effort of our students.

I am very proud of you Jessica because you have stepped up and been a tremendous leader for the team. Continue to lead and show everyone that you have the talent and the commitment to make a difference, especially when you return to El Cerrito High School.

Take care.

Charles T. Ramsey
School Board Member
West Contra Costa
Unified School District

dongosney said...

Jessica⎯As always, your commentary is welcome and appreciated.

I’m reading from all of The Ladies at Brown about seeing the movie “Iron Jawed Angels”. Since this movie⎯and the subject matter⎯holds a special place in my heart, I’m very interested in reading your thoughts on the issues.

I’m very pleased to see that the matter of ethics was thrown in your laps. With some people ethics is a no-brainer in a positive sense but with others it’s a no-brainer in the opposite sense. It’s a matter of character, Jessica. We all know what’s right and wrong (or at least I hope we do) and we know what the right thing to do is. With some people there isn’t a moment of hesitation before they step up to do the right thing but with others, though, they don’t waste a moment’s thought before giving themselves over to the Dark Side of the Force.

Succumbing to the unethical responses⎯even though it may mean a quick and easy benefit for you⎯will always have long lasting repercussions. Whenever we take the easier and less ethical path, we lose a little bit of who and what we are. Every time we allow ourselves to succumb, it makes it all the more easier the next time around until sooner or later we’ve lost all sense of right and wrong.

In the society we all want to live in, we don’t cheat or steal. We know that without having to be told. We don’t take action for our own benefit at the expense of others. We know it’s not right and when we succumb to even the slightest violation of our code of ethics, that “perfect” society we envision has become less perfect.

Cadets at our military academies have a very strong code of ethics wherein if a cadet does something unethical his code requires him to turn himself in. If he fails to turn himself in and someone else turns him in, he is often expelled from the academy. He’s usually not expelled because of the original infraction but usually because of his failure to follow the strict code of ethics which requires that he report himself. It truly is the “honor system”. If you take a look at one of the Marine Corp’s mottos: “Honor, Courage Commitment” it says it all right there. Even before courage and commitment comes honor. Marines feel so strongly about this that to do otherwise is repulsive to them.

The question of ethics, Jessica, really isn’t all that tough. As I write, we all know what the right thing is and unless we go through life expecting special treatment at the expense of others, then making the right choice won’t ever be an issue.

Charles mentioned about how useful all of this may be when you go off to college and I hope that each and every one of you heads off to a major university where you can change the world. But even if you never go off to college, I feel that what you’re learning here will affect your futures forever.