"The time is always right to do what is right" still rings as true today as it did when MLK, Jr., first spoke these words during a commencement speech several years before his death.
In business and in life, knowing what is right does not always translate into the right actions being taken, yet engaging students in discussions and analysis of ethics in practice can help them internalize the importance of consistently making that critical translation.
With such a vigorous belief in doing the right thing, MLK, Jr., would have undoubtedly enjoyed being a part of FIT's 20th Annual High School Business Ethics and Leadership Competition, an event sponsored by Community Credit Union and FIT.
Participating students from the Space Coast High School Ethics Team gained a deeper understanding of how the seemingly simple concept of 'doing the right thing' can easily be compromised in an often complex, profit-driven real world.
In addition to advising the Ethics Team and facilitating government and U.S. History for Space Coast, Mrs. Christine Le Roy teaches all sections of the career wheel (technology, business, family and consumer science, and careers), personal and family finance, child development, and world history.
What is Mrs. Le Roy's take on ethics? "Ethics is taking the high road," she said. "Not waddling in the mud with the pigs. Doing what the little voice in your head says you should do, not doing what everyone else says you should do. Doing what is right. That's ethics."
At the ethics competition, students were given a real international case study from Harvard Law School on business ethics, and tasked with analyzing the case to identify an ethical problem and then come up with the best solution to solve the ethical dilemma.
"We were challenged to maintain a business mindset, and to consider the country's ethics in comparison to America's ethics, because there are distinct and important differences," said Brandon Devoll, a senior.
The case involved an ethical situation faced by Novo Nordisk, a multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical company based in Denmark.
"We had to look closely at the off-shore clinical trials the company was performing," said Sara Flanigan, a junior. "We had to ask ourselves whether the trials were being conducted in an ethical manner."
C.S. Lewis viewed integrity as doing the right thing when no one else was looking. Certainly, disappointing choices can sometimes be made when the world has their back turned.
However, in the world of ethics, accusations of any wrongdoing should not be unfairly assumed.
Thanks to their critical thinking, outstanding contributions, and unrelenting commitment to doing the right thing, Brandon, Sara, and Laura were each awarded $48,000 in FIT scholarship money. They also earned cash awards of $125 each for their 3rd place finish in the competition.
Participants also received plenty of feedback from a judging panel which included high profile professionals with vast experience in the international business realm.
The competition was an experience these students will not soon forget.
"I also learned a lot about how to coach students at this level of academic achievement," she continued. "By asking a lot of higher level questions and employing a lot of Socratic Method, it enabled me to be a better coach for my students."
What do prospective students have to gain by joining?
The Ethics Team's takeaways from the competition prove whether anyone is watching, Mrs. Le Roy has fully prepared her students to do what is right—every time.
To read more about the nature of the event, visit FIT's Newsroom.
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