Lehman Sophomore Takes First Place in CUNY Essay Contest

Radya Shaid

Radya Shaid, a sophomore majoring in therapeutic recreation, is the winner of the CUNY Ethics and Morality Essay Contest. She took the top prize for her thoughtful essay on the importance of contemplation and reflection in cultivating an articulate and engaged citizenry. Four more Lehman students received honorable mentions.

The annual award, which is funded through an endowment gift to the University by Dr. K. York Chynn and his wife Noelle Chynn, aims to promote and stimulate thinking by college students on the topics of ethics, morality, and virtuous behavior in their lives. The topic for this year’s essay contest was virtue. Students were asked to consider which characteristics or virtues distinguish the moral man from the immoral man.

In her essay, titled “Pondering and Reflection,” Shaid argues that in order for individuals to be innovative and create revolutionary changes that impact the world, they must be strong thinkers who can synthesize information in a thoughtful and meaningful way. Shaid credits the Qur’an for her own awakening and talks about her personal challenge to stand up for women’s equality.

In the essay, she writes: “In order to ponder and reflect, one has to endure, be patient and have a firm resolve to discover something reverberating. It takes tenacity and a hard mental drive to successfully achieve a nirvana and have an utterly different way of how one perceives life.

From pondering and reflecting, I have learned to become creative, imaginative. I have learned to fray from the mundane way of substituting memorization as comprehension. From practicing this virtue, I attained dexterity, broad-mindedness and interest. I can proudly state that this one virtue can serve as a trajectory towards a successful, bright future for me.”

Shaid is a member of the CUNY Service Corp. She currently works at a home for the elderly.

To read the essay, go to http://aaari.info/ethics.htm