Integrity

Kenzie Andrade  |  Soccer  |  Senior  |  Midfielder  |  Columbia, Mo.

Representing the NAIA Champions of Character core value of Integrity for the 2014-15 school year is Kenzie Andrade. StephensStars.com caught up with Kenzie to discuss the meaning of integrity:

StephensStars.com - What does it mean to play with integrity on the soccer team at Stephens College?
Andrade: The word integrity takes on so many different meanings for the Stephens College soccer team. Having integrity is so important in our sport because without it we simply cannot be a successful team. From conditioning to game time, without integrity there would be no progress. If we decide that we’re too tired and skip the last lap of conditioning, in the end it shows on the field when we run out of gas in the last minutes of the game. When we have another obligation and cannot make practice, it is our responsibility to make up that practice with individual conditioning. If we decide to sit on the couch instead, that will also show during the games and slow the tempo down for the whole team. Having a lack of integrity doesn’t just affect the individual, but it affects the entire team.

It’s also important to have integrity not only in practice but on the field as well. When the Stephens College soccer team wins or loses, we know that it was out of complete fairness and honesty. We are an honest team that prides itself on clean play. We don’t want to win a game full of fouls and missed calls from the ref. The only true win is one that is played with the utmost integrity. If we catch ourselves offside or the ball skims our hand, we are happy to drop the ball to the other team and hustle back on defense because that is the correct way to play and we are happy to follow the rules.

StephensStars.com - How does the integrity, that you have learned and displayed on the field, translate to your personal and academic life?
Andrade - The integrity that I have learned on the field has translated into my personal and academic life significantly. It has taught me that even when something seems so easy to get out of, that’s not the best choice in the long run. I could skip the readings for the whole semester and get someone else’s notes for tests, or I can work hard and know that the grade I get is an exact reflection of my efforts. Without integrity in my life, nothing I accomplish would be of any value because it wouldn’t have been done in, what I consider the correct fashion.

StephensStars.com - Give a specific example of how you’ve used integrity in a situation with your teammates, despite the possibility of conflict or tension...
Andrade - There were a few instances when girls were not making up for missed practice by running like we all agreed at the start of season. Since we are all such close friends it is difficult to call someone out without damaging your social life together. However, as captains, we had to make sure that no one was being treated differently than the next person and that people were paying the price for missing the work that the team put in that day. So rather than just sweeping the issue under the rug, my co-captains and I would announce at the next practice who had missed the previous practice. This way not only did that person know we saw that they missed practice, but so does the rest of the team. That made it harder for them to skip out on their workouts. We would also run with them to make sure that they knew they had support and didn’t have to do it alone. This is a fair and just system that we have created which seems to work very well for the Stephens soccer team.

StephensStars.com - How does acting with integrity set the groundwork for a successful career and life after your time at Stephens College?
Andrade - The integrity that I possess and practice now will most definitely help me to be successful in life after Stephens. It is clear to me that hard work pays off and if done with honesty and integrity, you will be rewarded. I know that by cheating, I am only cheating myself in the end, whereas if I would have just put in the short amount of work it took to get the job done correctly I would have been much better off. Not pushing myself hard enough in a drill will only make me more winded in a game, and not consistently educating myself on the job I have at hand will be inadequate for my career. I know that I will carry the same integrity I have gained from the Stephens soccer team in to my life after college.

StephensStars.com: Who is one person that you look up to in regards to integrity?
Andrade - When it comes to integrity, the very first person to come to my mind is my dad. He not only shows integrity in his professional life, but also his personal life. Some argue that he's got almost too much integrity, but I think he's the bravest person I know for always doing the right thing even when it's the hardest option. He's the most honest person I know. He's always told me that it would be easy for him to lie to get ahead but that was never an option. Now that he is so successful at work he can truthfully say that it is due to his pure hard work not by chance or luck. He is never willing to sacrifice his own personal values to get ahead. He is not only a hard worker but he's an incredible leader due to the fairness he provides. He coached me until I was 18 years old and although sometimes it was hard to be his daughter and player, he was always sure to treat me the same as all the other players. He never played favorites and at times he was maybe harder on me than he was with the other girls. There were no special privileges. I had to work hard to earn my spot on the team. If I had a game where I wasn't contributing to the team, he wouldn’t think twice to sit me on the bench. Although it was frustrating, I will always think of him as my ultimate role model for integrity. Some say you can’t get far in life without lying on occasion and my dad is the clearest proof that this just simply isn’t true. He has shown me and told me since I was little that hard work and honesty might not get you ahead as quickly as lying or deceiving people might, but in the end it will count for so much more. My dad is the epitome of all that the word “integrity” stands for.

StephensStars.com - What quote best describes the NAIA core value of integrity?
Andrade - “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching” - C.S. Lewis
"Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” - Oprah Winfrey

Both quotes are so true. You can only measure a person’s integrity by what choices they make when no one is watching them, and with the knowledge that no one may know of those choices.