A Day of Ethics at Ransom Everglades began with an Ethics Gallery Walk during the mid-day break and continued after lunch with the third installment of the Holzman Center of Applied Ethics Speaker Series for 2023-24, featuring entrepreneurs and Cuban immigrants Miguel Fernandez and Armando Codina. The back-to-back ethics events on Dec. 12 lived up to the founding vision for the school's Holzman center, which was created in 2021 to be a resource designed to empower students to engage in ethical decision-making and to act with honor, excellence and integrity.
The second-annual gallery walk drew students, faculty and parents to the Ransom Cottage (the home of the ethics center) for an exhibition of projects from the upper school course Applied Ethics. Shortly after, the founder of the Holzman Center of Applied Ethics, Steve Holzman, joined Fernandez and Codina on the stage of the Lewis Family Auditorium and moderated a discussion that touched on business and life ethics. Fernandez and Codina shared stories about their personal journeys from Cuban immigrants to successful businessmen, and they answered many questions from the upper school student body.
Fernandez, the founder of MBF Healthcare Partners, and Codina, founder and executive chairman of Codina Partners, are longtime friends who also are connected to RE. Fernandez is a former RE parent who provided critical support to the school's Constance and Miguel Fernandez STEM Center. Codina is an RE grandparent.
"We are a people of values," Fernandez said "We have ethics that we adhere to; we are grateful for everything that we have. We don't take anything for granted. There is no sense of entitlement from anybody. We work hard ... It's a long ride but it's not a difficult ride. It is harder to do the wrong thing than to do the right thing."
Said Codina: "Don't walk out of here thinking that you're entitled. Every step of the way, you're going to have to earn it ... Instant gratification doesn't work. You've got to go through the steps and you've got to pay the price ... Ethical decisions at times are painful, but there's no gray area."
The students in Jenny Carson '03's Applied Ethics course also shared their views on ethical decision-making, exhibiting posters of their class projects and answering questions. Their projects required identifying an ethical issue, adopting a stance on the issue and taking action to address it. Students in the class spoke at public hearings, attended government conferences, wrote letters to public officials and made themselves available to parents, peers and faculty to discuss their work. Here's an inside look at their projects:
Abolish the Death Penalty by Esmeralda Swietelsky '24: Swietelsky researched the recently passed Florida Law that allows for death penalty cases to have a lower majority in order to impose the maximum sentence.
On Trial: Mason Greenwood's Off-Field Actions and Manchester United's Ethical Challenge by Matias de Cardenas '24:Cardenas' project reflected on the alleged action of domestic violence by soccer star Mason Greenwood and whether he should have the right to play.
Oil Drilling in Alaska by Jackson Langer '24: Langer's project questioned the ethics of ending drilling in Alaska favoring the environment over jobs.
Sweet Deception by Sophia Lopez '25: Lopez explored recent FDA regulations on "healthy" advertising and the corporate reaction arguing it impacts their freedom of speech.
Is Your Identity Banned? by Yuanjin Yang '25: Yang researched the recent disputes between Disney and Governor DeSantis regarding the "Don't Say Gay" bill.
Title XI: Sex or Gender by Gabriela Pasos '25: Pasos researched the recent Supreme Court announcement to decline to hear a case regarding transathletes competing on their gender-identified teams and its impacts on teammates in locker rooms.
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.