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This Stanford ethics course changed a young student’s life

A New York City high school student shares how the Structured Liberal Education course impacted his thinking.
Jordy Almonte, a student at the Urban Assembly School for Emergency Management
Jordy Almonte shown in a Class A uniform, issued by New York City’s fire department to participants in its Explorer Program. He became involved in the program through his high school.

Jordy Almonte, 16 years old, wrote this letter after taking the Stanford Structured Liberal Education (SLE) course, Searching Together for the Common Good, through Stanford Digital Education and the National Education Equity Lab. He attends the Urban Assembly School for Emergency Management, a career and technical education high school based in Lower Manhattan, with an emphasis on preparing students for a career in the medical field and in emergency services. He will be a junior in fall 2023. 

Good morning Professor Watkins, 

It has been a little over a month since the end of the SLE-22 course. I am writing to you to express my gratitude for the SLE course, I really enjoyed it. This course made an impact on my life, and I know that the knowledge I acquired will be crucial when making important decisions that will inevitably have an impact on my future and that of others.  

Ever since the SLE course, when I face decisions, what I have learned from the course frequently comes to mind. For example, when I am faced with important choices, I am more aware of my perspective, and its impact. As a result, thanks to the SLE course I can always refer to philosophers like Mengzi, who believed human nature is good and from that perspective find opportunities as I now have a fresh set of eyes. Or refer to the story of Antigone, which upon a closer look during the course, we see the role of pride on both sides and how it ultimately led to tragedy, and use what I learned from the story to be more aware of role of pride in my own life, and hopefully use the knowledge to prevent such tragedy in my day-to-day life. 

One of the biggest lessons from the SLE course, which I found to be very important, is Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Mean, the importance of balance, how it’s best to be in the middle, as too little of something and too much of something will lead to nothing good. I find this one to be one of the most important, especially when dealing with all the kinds of emotions that we all feel during our life. It is so important that we reflect at the end of the day and ask ourselves what we could have done better and then move on the next day. 

So, to conclude thank you Professor. It was an honor to be one of your students. Thank you for always being there to answer any questions or concerns. I wish you nothing but the best in the future.

Jordy Almonte 

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