CUNY Ethics and Morality Essay Contest
Funded by the Chynn Family Foundation

Fall 2011

Best Essay
Sean McCormick (City College of New York)
To Be Or Not To Be The Change You Wish To See

First Runner-up
Ingrid Delgado (NYC College of Technology)
The Road Less Traveled

Second Runner-up
Ina Lei (College of Staten Island)
Morality Today in America: Mutatis Mutandis?

Honorable Mention (Last Name Order)
Etinosa Agbonlahor (Hunter College)
Leilani Blira-Koessler (Queensborough Community College)
Dominique Carson (Brooklyn College)
Catherine Chan (Brooklyn College)
Isabela Fairooz (Queens College)
Kayla Kirschenbaum (Queens College)
Keiko Matsuura (Hunter College)
Carissas Veliz (CUNY Graduate Center)
Li-Jin Zheng (Baruch College)
Yang Zhong (Baruch College)

Submission Guidelines

Fall 2011 Essay Topic: Morality Today in America

Essay should addressing the following questions:

  • Why is morality essential to leading a fulfilled and happy life?

  • What are the obstacles to having a moral life, and how may they be overcome?

  • How can morality be instilled as part of the education process for our youth?

Morality should play a central role in a person's life.  People may have an advanced education, successful career, and acquire enormous wealth, but if they lead an immoral life, none of this is meaningful, and the end result may be catastrophic. A recent case in point is the one of Bernie Madoff, whose legendary status as a financial advisor to the rich and famous, and billion-dollar enterprise, came crashing down, exposing not only his financial fraud, but the fact that only the total absence of morals could allow this to transpire in the first place.  As penance, he will be in jail for the rest of his life, and one of his sons, sadly, took his own life, rather than bear this shame.  Yet, how much better would it have been for his family, friends, and the world at large, if he had committed himself to moral principles, to avoid this wrongful path altogether?

The United States spends billions of dollars annually on education, but without any concerted effort to impart a moral foundation to our children's lives.  What is the use of filling up a vessel with information, when the vessel itself may be broken or cracked? Some would say that it is the role of parents, rather than that of our public schools, to instill moral values in our children.  But as the example of the "balloon boy" who was used by his parents to (successfully) get on a reality show, what happens to children like him when his parents obviously are imparting the wrong values? 

Half of all American marriages end in divorce, and so half of our youths grow up in broken homes, with much of the remainder suffering from either under- or over-parenting.  Because we cannot count on a stable nuclear family, we must therefore rely on our universal primary educational system to provide some moral training. By adding a moral component to education, it will fill a current void, and help students to develop character, so that the knowledge they acquire can be used to bring about positive change in our world.






CUNY Ethics and Morality Essay Contest

Spring 2011

Fall 2011

Fall 2012

Fall 2013

Fall 2014

Fall 2015

Fall 2016

Selection Committee
KY Chynn
Joyce Moy

Antony Wong


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