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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Detroit High Schoolers Discover Cornerstones of Freedom

One-day event introduced students to economic, ethical concepts

On May 10, 2014, 34 Detroit high schoolers attended “The Cornerstones of Freedom,” where they explored topics such as economic thinking, entrepreneurship, and the importance of personal character. The event took place at Cornerstone Schools in Detroit.

The event began with a familiar face for most of the students: Dr. Cliff Harris of Northwood University. Dr. Harris, who teaches an economics class at Cornerstone Schools, laid the foundation for the day with this presentation “How to Think Like an Economist.”

Following Dr. Harris, Detroit native John Monds shared personal examples highlighting how economic thinking can help individuals make the best choices when faced with life’s decisions.

After breaking for lunch, the students participated in the Trading Game, an activity that demonstrates a plethora of economic concepts such as subjective value, incentives, opportunity cost, property rights, and the rule of law. Each student received a paper bag of items that they were able to trade with others, first among only others at their tables, then with those around them, and then with the entire group. The students expressed increased happiness with their items as the game progressed, experiencing firsthand the gains from open trade.

Praxis Education Director T. K. Coleman further spurred the excitement from the Trading Game with his talk “Entrepreneurship and Innovation.” Coleman encouraged students to share their ideas with others, even if they believe their thoughts are obvious or unexceptional, and to always make their own opportunities.

Dr. Anne Bradley closed the program by discussing the connection between liberty and character, inspiring students to see the connection between using their skills and talents and serving others. 

Following the presentations, every participant was invited to join the FEE Alumni Network and to consider attending a future FEE program. They also heard about opportunities for college scholarships as they begin to consider their post-high school careers.

“The Cornerstones of Freedom” introduced students to the connection between a free society and personal character, an important lesson for any student regardless of their interests or desired career direction.