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ROTARY CLUB OF GILROY GILROY ROTARY ESSAY CONTEST The Second Annual Gilroy Rotary Club’s “Four-Way Test” Essay Contest was open to all Gilroy Unified high school English and Social Studies classes. The theme was based on Rotary’s belief in the Four- Way Test; Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned? Students from Christopher High School and Dr. TJ Owens Gilroy Early Academy participated. First place winners each received $100 and second place winners received $50. Larry and J. Chris Mickartz of TODAY sponsored the awards and chose the winning essay for publication —Sameera Khan “Business Ethics to Classroom Ethics” — essay below. gmh Marco Renella (Rotary President), Jill Fortino (Committee Chair), Azul Vasquez (CHS), Tiana Krueger (GECA), Sameera Khan, (GECA lst Place) and Lucas Moreira, (CHS 1st Place), J. Chris Mickartz and Larry J. Mickartz, TODAY . gmh Business Ethics to Classroom Ethics Everytime I see a “Store Closing” sign something inside me breaks. Maybe it’s because when I was five the local TOYS R Us closed and it felt like the apocalypse; maybe it’s because when a store is closing it means someone’s work, someone’s job, someone’s source of income, and often times some- one’s motivation is being eradicated. This brutal process brings out the worst of people; people forget morality, ethics, and most importantly, humanity just to somehow save their business. This process did not get the worst of Herbert J. Taylor, the founder of the 4-Way Test. His company was 400K in debt and he was scrambling to find something, anything to help guide him through the impending disaster. He prayed, and his humbleness led him to creation of the 4-Way Test which is now the guiding principles of Rotary International. The beautiful thing about this test that it is not limited to business or charity or Rotary; it extends to issues and people of all walks of life. One of these people was me, at my high school. The pressure that comes along with school, in teenage terms, is so real. It is even more real when you go to the tenth best school in the state that churns out scholastic sorcerers and academic enchanters on a daily basis. With the stress on academic achievement, I have noticed a sickening trend among some of the students in my class. This trend is rooted in the obsession of grades, points, letters, numbers also known as the report card. Students are willing to bend over backwards in the pursuit of good grades. This often means stooping to new lows that often entails cheating. Geometry is a pointless subject. Shapes, angles, and area are important if you’re going to be an engineer or architect or something like that. But when you have no interest in either of those professions, the subject itself seems like a drag. But alas, like most subjects in school, you have to put up with it. I had been studying for the test on surface area and volume all weekend. Pages and pages were filled with formulas and practice problems, so I obviously walked into the test room confident that I had done everything I could do in preparation. Surprise! It wasn’t enough. After an hour and thirty minutes, I left the test room with a cramped hand, a glob of a brain, and a heavy heart. “What did you think of the test?” my friend chirped “Dude, it was horrible. How did you finish so early?” “Because of this.” She lifted her skirt up a bit to reveal her tatted up flesh. Formulas printed in dark, black, ink seemed so vibrant on her milky, white thigh. I instantly knew why she had finished so early. A part of me was disgusted, at how someone could go to such lengths for a good grade. Another part of me panged, beat myself up, for not doing the same thing as she. If I had only peeked over at my partner’s paper, if I had only brought in a cheat sheet, if I had only written down the formulas on my leg, I too could have dodged that impending F. I went home disappointed and logged onto Instagram. Scrolling in hopes to erase my sadness. A post from Interact District 5170 popped onto my feed. It was about integrity and how important it is in regards to the organization. I instantly thought of the 4-Way Test and how without even thinking about it, had affected my decisions during the test. I knew I could cheat and get away with it, but I did not because it felt wrong. It felt wrong to lie about my knowledge and understanding. It felt wrong to not tell the truth. Cheating felt like an injustice to everyone who did not cheat. It was not fair to the people who actually understood the material or the teacher who trusted us to be honest. It felt wrong and unfair to cheat. Cheating was a pathway to dishonesty and building the exact opposite of compassion. It was disrespectful and not promoting goodwill in any way. Cheating was not helping out anyone in this situation. I was cheating my teacher from an accurate representation of my learning. I was cheating myself from learning. I was cheating this world of good morals and as a result not benefitting anyone. Everyone knows that they could cheat, but not everyone has the strength to disregard the 4-Way Test. Not everyone has the will to leave behind the truth, the fairness, the goodwill, and benefit that telling the truth has to offer. I never knew that being part of Interact, a club I joined for the sake of community service hours, would introduce me to something as pure as the 4-Way Test and allow me to follow the footsteps of Mr. Taylor and other change-makers alike. Without Interact, without Rotary, without the 4-Way Test, who knows what that one act of cheating could have led me into. 40 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JULY/AUGUST 2017