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Eufaula Tribune
April 25, 2006

State school board member Betty Peters on Thursday praised Wallace Community College students from the Sparks Campus for their individual achievements. Yet she told the students the key to success in the real world will be their ability to work as a team with others.

Peters was the featured speaker at Wallace’s Honors Day at First United Methodist Church in Eufaula.

“As you bask in the glow of today, I would like to direct your thinking on what is ahead for you and what you will do with your life,” Peters said.

“As you grow older and progress in your profession, you will see that you are never alone.

“We are all part of a team, and what we do impacts the rest of them.”

Peters also stressed the importance of integrity in life and in the workplace.

“The character of our country is the sum of the character of its people,” Peters said.

She also said for America to “remain great,” it must return to its lost values of integrity and decency.

“It concerns me, and it should concern you, that many people think that America is not headed in the right direction,” Peters said.

“Our factories are moving overseas, our economy is negatively affected by illegal immigration, our schools are less successful than in decades past and our culture is increasingly becoming more debased and vulgar and less civil.”

She cited corporate giants like Enron and Worldcom that crashed because their leaders failed to put integrity first.

“The key, it seems to me, is having a workforce composed of men and women who have both excellent training and knowledge of their jobs and the personal integrity to perform them,” Peters said.

She said morality is even important in industries like aviation.

“Aviation is a career of morality,” she said.

“Unless a maintenance tech does his job, the machine will not be reliable, and the flight engineer, the pilot and others cannot do their job.”

She said an important lesson about teamwork can be learned from Charles Lindberg, who entitled his autobiography “We” after his non-stop flight to Paris in 1927.

“It was not the story of one man,” she said.

“It was the story of every welder, every woodworker, every machinist, electrician, technician, mechanic, engineer who contributed to the record-setting flight…A practicing Christian, he knew that it was by the grace of God and with the work of the entire team who participated that he was able to make that fantastic voyage.”

Peters also challenged the Wallace students to consider the Rotary Club’s Four-Way Test for Truth, calling it “one of the best known codes of business ethics.

“Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned?

Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”

Peters represents District Two on the Alabama Board of Education, which includes Barbour County.

Wallace Community College President Dr. Linda Young presented Peters with a plaque and gavel for her service to the state board of education.

“She’s a sincere advocate for public education and for the students public education serves,” Young said.