Each year the Herndon Rotary Club invites middle school students to participate in an essay contest based on the Four Way Test of Rotary.  Congratulations to this year's winner -- Avalon Gallardo.  Avalon went on to win third place in the district competition. You can read her essay by clicking on the "Read More" button below.

Avalon Gallardo


CLUB NOTE:  Names in the essay have been changed prior to public sharing.


Four Ways to Make it Right

    The Four Way Test could have helped my friend Jane out. She skipped class without thinking about the consequences. When she skipped, people started thinking poorly of her and it became hard for others to trust her. I can’t go back in time and prevent her from skipping, but I can teach her a thing or two about the Four Way Test.

    The Four Way Test was developed by a man named Herbert J. Taylor. His company, Club Aluminum Products, was about to go bankrupt due to a toxic corporate culture. Herbert J. Taylor was a very religious man, so he looked towards God for help to save his company. He prayed to God and after a few moments he came up with the Four Way Test. After applying the principles of the Four Way Test to his company, he was able to get Club Aluminum Products back on track and out of bankruptcy. The principles of the Four Way Test are:

  1. Is it the truth? 

  2. Is it fair to all concerned? 

  3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships? 

  4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Is it the truth?

    Hey Jane. I heard you skipped class today and lied about it to the Principal. You know, it’s not being truthful. If you told the truth maybe you would be in less trouble. Skipping class is one thing, but skipping class and lying about it is another. Lies can only save you for so long. People are going to find out eventually. Have you ever thought about that?

Is it fair to all concerned?   

It wasn’t fair that you skipped class. It wasn’t fair to Mr. Smith because that showed him disrespect. He's working really hard to help you out and skipping makes him think that this class is unimportant to you. We’re moving on really quickly, but Mr. Smith is giving you more of his own time after school to catch you up. It’s also not fair to you. You’re not giving yourself the opportunities you need to learn, and the more you skip, the more you’ll fall behind. 

Will it build goodwill and better friendships?

    When you skip class, people lose trust in you. It’s not going to strengthen your friendships because people can’t rely on you to do what you're supposed to do. It tells people that you aren’t willing to help out and shows them a lack of respect. Amanda and Patty had to finish the history project all by themselves because you didn't bother to show up to class. They’re probably not going to want to work with you again, and can you blame them?

Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

    Okay, listen. There's one more thing that you need to pay attention to, “Will it be beneficial to all concerned?” This one you missed by a mile. Skipping class is beneficial to no one. It was not beneficial to the Principal because you wasted her time when she had to talk to you. It wasn’t beneficial to Mr. Smith because now he has to stay after school to help you catch up. It wasn’t beneficial to Amanda or Patty because when you didn’t show up to class, they were left to finish the project by themselves. Skipping class was the least beneficial to you. You got nothing good out of it. You sat down in the bathroom doing nothing for one hour when you could have been in the classroom with everyone, learning.

    Jane worked hard to gain everyone's trust back and make up for skipping class and lying about it. She apologized to her teacher, classmates, and the Principal. She's still working hard to earn their trust back, but one thing’s for sure; she’ll think about the Four Way Test before doing anything like that again.