It was freshman year and our economics class entered to a Junior Achievement volunteer ready to teach us about business ethics. Honestly, as 14 year old freshmen, we didn’t think business ethics to be terribly applicable to our everyday lives, and considered browsing our Facebooks to be a more pertinent option.
In hindsight, we’re both glad that we took this course. We can truly say that our JA class went beyond worksheets and textbooks. Our volunteer taught us about business ethics and making decisions, which translated into skills Anna and I still use today.
Come senior year, Anna serves as the Speech and Debate Team Captain and I the Speech Captain. Many of the conflicts we face as captains have the ability to impact the whole team, positively or negatively, depending on our decisions. When we are faced with these dilemmas, we can only help but think of what the volunteer taught us about problem solving. Our JA class taught us to consider each individual fairly, while also thinking about the good of the team. Being in a leadership position, we now have the abilities to make quick and thoughtful decisions that benefit those involved.
Our JA knowledge was recently put into use when a teacher kindly offered to donate some funds to our Speech and Debate program. After receiving the money, Adam and I had to decide what we were going to use it for. On one hand, we could use it to help subsidize our upcoming varsity team trip to Boston, where it would benefit the veteran members of our team. Conversely, we could use it to help fund buses to and from tournaments, helping the entire team. Both options were tempting, but in the end, we decided that the future of the team lies with the “younger generations.” JA’s business ethics class promoted foresight, which helped us make a decision that would benefit the team now, and in the future.
From freshmen year to present day, we both believe that JA’s course in business ethics has impacted us more than we originally foresaw (and more than the news that popped up in our Facebook feeds in 2009). As we move on to higher level education, we will continue to practice the ethics that JA taught us as we strive to become fair leaders, critical thinkers, and go-getters.
-Adam Wise & Anna Krauss, 12th grade George Washington High School