Recently one of our employees, Jesse Foss, was awarded a $1500 scholarship by the Washington Association of Sewer and Water Districts. In addition to working full time, Jesse is working towards a degree in Business from Shoreline Community College. All of us at Shoreline Water District have come to appreciate his attitude and dedication to his career.
Jesse’s winning scholarship essay:
“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” These words spoken by John D. Rockefeller are as pertinent today as they were over 100 years ago. Seeking change and improvement is not a sign of discontent; rather it is a sign of an explorative personality. Asking questions such as ‘what else is there’ and ‘how can things improve’ are characteristic of a leader. Some in society argue that leaders are born. Others in society argue that leaders are made. Yet others argue that leaders are actually made of both natural characteristics/attributes and learned behaviors. Regardless of the philosophy prescribed, it is obvious that a leader must be educated, both formally and through experience, in order to achieve real success.
As a child I never planned to be involved in the water distribution field, I actually did not know what I wanted to be when I grew up. The only important thing was to have a career that would serve my community. I was involved in student government at Ingraham High School in Seattle, as well as football, baseball, the school paper and honors English and Poetry. As the end of my high school years drew closer, I began to wonder how I could continue to serve others. However, towards the end of high school I found my calling, or rather it found me. After September 11, 2011, having watched the Twin Towers fall, I made my decision and went to the recruiting station for the Marine Corps and signed my name on the dotted line.
During my military service I served in Afghanistan and Iraq as an aircraft ordnance technician which required my fellow Marines and me to load ammunition and maintain the weapons systems on both the EA6B and Harrier airframes. Being part of a team effort which contributed toward not only the success of military missions but toward the safety of my fellow countrymen gave me great pride and satisfaction.
Following my service, I have been frequently asked why I chose to serve. I answer this question to the best of my ability, although only those who have served can truly understand my reasoning. My brothers and sisters in arms and myself felt the need to enlist when our country was at its lowest point. Most of us never planned on enlisting after high school. We may not have understood at a young age why we joined but it was because we all possessed the same personality trait. That trait is to be the protectors of our country. We were all so different, from different backgrounds, with different ethnicities but what we all had in common was the need to protect our family, friends and country.
When my contract expired from the Marines, I knew I had to find my place in the civilian world in a position that allowed me to continue serving others. I tried construction, but something was missing. I found what I was looking for when I was hired by the Shoreline Water District in November of 2007. Providing clean, safe drinking water to the Shoreline and Lake Forest Park communities is how I am able to serve today.
In the winter of 2010 I began my studies at Shoreline Community College in order to further my education. My efforts have landed me on the honor roll. My goal has always been to gain the knowledge and expertise required to become an indispensable and important member of society and to enhance both my general knowledge as well as my knowledge of water systems. I know that I have much to learn. Once I do have the experience and knowledge to be considered for a promotion in my field; I understand that having the college education will put me in a position to be ready for the task at hand.
My degree will be a bachelors in business management. Being accepted into business school is competitive and therefore I have kept my GPA at a 3.57 or better. When I choose my classes for each quarter I always keep in mind my career goals. I do not choose the classes which are the “easiest” but rather classes that will further the skills and knowledge that are important for me to possess in order to be successful in the water distribution field. One example of this is taking Public Speaking as an English requirement which has helped me to be a better presenter and customer service representative for my district. This being said, the ultimate goal for me is to one day be a District Manager and/or Operations Manager for a water utility.
Improving oneself or “going for great” as Mr. Rockefeller once said allows for both personal and professional growth. This growth, in turn, allows for greater action and influence on our communities. Whether it is taking physical action such as volunteering at a community event or being a role model to others, serving others and making a difference is what really counts.