Ethics, respect key themes of speaker

Josh Echt

Technology may have improved since 1974, but traditional ideals such as respect, citizenship and service to others will stay around forever, said Deborah Moore.

Moore, the Ohio High School Athletic Association assistant commissioner, said life has improved since she graduated from Kent State 32 years ago.

“Alcohol use is down, unwedded pregnancies are down and women have achieved great strides in athletics in 32 years,” she said. “However, there is a need for citizenship in the community.”

An audience of about 200 attended Moore’s speech, “The Quest for Citizenship – Living a Life That Matters,” in the Kent State Student Center Ballroom yesterday evening.

However, she said the media’s portrayal of young people is affecting their roles as citizens.

“There are bad stories in the news media about your generation,” she told the crowd. “But I’m here to tell you, you don’t have to believe it.”

Moore, a 1974 Kent State alumna, listed respect, honesty, perspective, community service and healthy lifestyles as components of citizenship.

When she was younger, her school graded her in citizenship classes.

“My parents valued that grade as much as my math and science grade,” Moore said. “The citizenship grade reflected how we would handle ourselves later in life and the working world,” she said.

Moore said sportsmanship and integrity is a key part of citizenship as well. She told a story of how a golfer from Mount Gilead High School was disqualified after his scorecard contained an error during the 2005 golfing state championship. After he consulted with his coach, the officials were notified and disqualified him and the team from winning the Division II title.

“However, at the state boy’s basketball tournament, the golfer was recognized for being ethical,” Moore said. “A mother came up to me after the tournament and told me how her son would not stop talking about what a good person the golfer was for being honest.”

Citizenship has changed since the early 1970s, when Moore was a Kent State athlete, she said. Moore said the values she mentioned have to be taught at an early age.

“Everything I’ve talked about tonight – citizenship, respect, honesty – is a learned behavior,” she said. “You just don’t come out of the womb knowing how to do these things.”

“People need to realize that playing a sport is a privilege,” said Lisa Kurz, sophomore international relations major and soccer player at Kent State.

“As college athletes, we should set an example for the younger ones,” she said.

Moore is the fifth speaker from the Starner Distinguished Speaker Series, started in 2000 by Kent State alumni Buzz and Marilyn Starner.

Contact general assignment reporter Josh Echt at [email protected].