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Alexandra Reich:
2007 Winner
FDNY Ladder 56

Alexandra Reich

Winning Essay

In the history of the United States of America, 42 diverse men with different ideas and contributions to our wonderful country held power. America, being that it is a democracy, allows the citizens to voice their opinion by voting on an individual whom they have faith and hope in. When citizens elect a president, they do so for many reasons. Five qualities a president should acquire are trustful, self-confidence in them self, knowledgeable, persuasive, and passionate for their country.

To be the leader of the United States of America, the citizens must be able to have faith in their president in order for them to believe in him/her. Without trust in your leader, there is nowhere for the president to go. When a president makes a speech or declares something to his/her people, the citizens are going to believe them until that trust is broken. Once the trust is broken between a leader and its people, the country does not function properly and the president has no believers in him/her. This makes it a difficult term for the president to serve his or her country. Having trust in your president goes hand in hand with the idea of the president having self-confidence.

In order for people to believe in a leader, they must feel a sense that the president knows precisely what they are doing or what they yearn to do. If a president is not speaking as if they know what they want to accomplish for their country, the citizens are not going to follow and believe in their president. When a president makes a speech and is not directly telling his/her citizens what they will be doing for their country, but instead is speaking with his or her head down and not looking into the eyes of his people, there is no way that there will be a healthy leadership.

Another quality that is extremely important for a president to acquire is to be knowledgeable. A president needs to be well educated in the past and present history of the United States, along with foreign policies. A president needs to be aware of the situations of all other countries since it might affect the United States either in a positive or negative way. The president needs to be aware so that he or she can give the right orders when a problem occurs. If a president is not educated, this may lead to many inaccurate decisions and an assortment of error. To be a good president, your learning of the United States would be continuously growing each day you are in service.

In order for foreign countries to be on the American side when there are treaties or other important policies, the president needs to have a persuasive side to their personality. The president needs to know how to speak to another leader and get them to do whatever he/she wants them to do to benefit the United States. He/she needs to be a confident, strong compromiser who explains his theories in a straightforward approach. A good president cannot let anyone walk over or take advantage of him or herself. They need to be stern and present themselves with a sense of confidence that will be shown through their speaking.

Lastly and most importantly, the best quality a president should possess is being passionate for their country. In order for a president to benefit their country there must be a sense of pride and honor that they are ruling such a magnificent country. The president must feel as if the United States of America is the most special and extraordinary place where each and every person’s opinions count and alter the way we live.

Not every president has had these five immense qualities in our past but have had other negative qualities such as being inconsistent, selfish and uninformative. These traits can lead to horrific leaders who do not benefit the entire United States as a country.

An inconsistent president leads to chaos and misunderstanding within the citizens. A president must pursue the same ideas and beliefs throughout their presidency. This allows for good communication between the citizens of the United States and their leader. Without consistency, a strong sense of doubt enters the minds of the public causing them to question the president and his leadership capabilities.

Another terrible trait a president could have would be selfishness. If a president is only out to benefit him or herself once in presidency, there is no possible way that the president will make decisions based on the country’s best interest.

The citizens of the United States of America have the right to know exactly what is occurring in their country. A president cannot keep all issues a secret from the public. A president cannot be uninformative if he or she wants to build trust within their people.

In America’s history, we have had several outstanding presidents. Two of them that have proven to be outstanding to me, being a history major, were President Abraham Lincoln and President Franklin D. Roosevelt. President Lincoln was in term from 1861-1865.

Lincoln was faced with difficult situations, most importantly the slavery situation. During this time period the South was very reliable on their farms and the profits made to them by their slaves. Most southerners owned slaves and it became part of their culture. Eventually the South wanted to extend and expand slavery westward but Lincoln did not allow it. President Lincoln was a fair and honest man, in that got his nickname, “Honest Abe”. Lincoln allowed slavery to continue where it was but he didn’t want it to expand any more. After giving the states the right to popular sovereignty, southerners were still unsatisfied with what Lincoln was trying to do. Lincoln was a great president because he tried his hardest to keep America unified. He gave the south many opportunities and compromises so that America would not fall apart. Further, he built the Republican Party into a strong national organization.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, another one of our supreme presidents, was in term from 1933-1945. He was serving our country during the Great Depression and did all he could to repair America’s economy. Roosevelt was in presidency for three terms, which is considered a long time. During the Great Depression, many people were unemployed and had no money. Roosevelt designed a plan called the New Deal where jobs were provided so that people could make money. This allowed Americans to regain faith in themselves. In his inaugural speech he stated, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.

Along with the admiring presidents, there have also been a few who, I believe, did not have our nation’s best interest at heart. One president that did not have good qualities was President Herbert Hoover. He was president from 1929-1933, during the Great Depression. Since the United States citizens did not have any jobs and there was no income for their families, most families didn’t have shelter. Hoover’s outlook on the Great Depression was that he didn’t want to help the people but wanted them to help themselves get out of the depression. People started to live in parks and on the streets and called their shelters “Hoovervilles”.

I feel that a great president would try his/her best to handle any situation or dilemma that might occur in the United States of America. In the United States the highest elected official is the President of the United States of America. It is critical that the president uses his position to benefit the public as a whole and maintains trust and confidence. If this is not accomplished, the president will surely not establish his or her name in history.


Over the past 17 years, I have always been motivated and determined to do my best. Failure, and simply knowing the fact that I did not do my best, has never been easy for me to handle.

I believe that a number of people have instilled this mind set throughout my life. I must thank my parents, my relatives, my friends, and my teachers for inspiring me to live my life to its highest potential. Without them, I might not be as ready and driven for my future as I am now. No matter how long it takes or how many obstacles I must overcome to reach my goals, I know that I will always have my loved ones to be the brick wall behind me. When I must make it through many challenging years of college and medical school, they will without a doubt, support and encourage me to receive my medical degree. Without my loved ones, I may not have ever been given the confidence that I can one day be the successful psychiatrist that I plan to be.

Thanks to all of those who have inspired me to be the best I can be, I have had many great accomplishments throughout my life. Some of these include: being on high honor roll, obtaining several student government positions, being known as “the Grand-slammer,” and frankly, walking, talking, and learning to read. Everything I have accomplished throughout the years, can be traced back to the motivation from my loved ones, and I thank them for that. In addition, I would like to thank them for teaching me to participate in many activities to create a fun and exciting life for myself. These activities include: ballet, tap, jazz, chorus, band, student government, Tae Kwon Do, softball, yearbook, swim team, Nail Specialty, and Students Against Destructive Decisions.

My life has been delightful and entertaining since it began, and I know that, thanks to my loved ones, my future will be no different.

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