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Allison DeCrescenzo:
2008 Winner
I.S. 227

Allison DeCrescenzo

Winning Essay

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”— Lao-tzu, Chinese philosopher (604 BC - 531 BC)

“And so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”— John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, January 1961

Two great quotes about looking and moving forward, toward progress.

But it seems lately that as we progress, America is becoming less and less, well, American. There is so little patriotism, because everyone is so inwardly withdrawn. So very few worry about their neighbor, it’s all about “What’s best for me?” Also, with new times come new problems, or, with new times come increases in the old problems. With the elections approaching, it’s important to stay on top of who’s who, and who stands for what. Some of the issues I would like to see addressed are those I see around me, and hear about often; Illegal Immigration, Poverty in America, and legalized Abortion.

Illegal Immigration. Personally, I hate walking down the street and hearing ten different languages going on around me. If you come to a country, you need to LEARN THE LANGUAGE! The only way to be a unified nation is to be able to communicate with one another. There are benefits that wouldn’t be considered for legal citizens in this country, that are being distributed to people who aren’t really even supposed to be here. College scholarships, free health care in some states—it seems illegal immigrants are more welcome in this country than those born legal citizens, not to mention the actual legal immigrants! I believe it is an insult to those who had to go through tests and time to become legal citizens of America. They had the desire to become citizens. Others come to reap the benefits they know they will get. Many do not want to really come to become Americans, but only come to America for personal gain. It is blatantly disrespectful that someone would think that they had the “right” to enter the country, and in that act, break our laws. They may not realize that these laws are what keep our civilization in balance, and that breaking them one too many times could tip the scale and cause chaos. Politicians speak about border security. While there’s a lot of talk going on, not much is actually happening. As for me, I think we should stick with Theodore Roosevelt’s proverb, “Speak softly, and carry a big stick.” Why is it our concern if the Mexican government is “insulted” by the closing of our borders? We must do what we need to do to keep our country secure and safe.

My second issue is poverty in AMERICA. It seems that it’s always everybody’s concern to take care of the “poor starving children in Africa.” Or India. Or China. Or any other country whose government does not provide the services or support its citizens need. It is not that I don’t care about the starving children of the world, but before we worry about the rest of the world, I think we should worry about our own kids who don’t have enough to eat. Did you know that the average age of a homeless person is nine years old? If the government has money to provide for children overseas, there should be more money for existing foundations, and more foundations set up to insure that children have safe homes and healthy food. Also, too many children grow up in neglectful homes, and if not neglectful, just…severely lacking. No child should have to grow up half alone. Without sturdy households and family, unrestrained kids will become unrestrained adults, who in turn, produce unrestrained kids. Eventually it will just become chaos.

My final issue is abortion. And just to get it out there: to me, abortion is nothing but murder. How do you know that baby wasn’t going to be the next Martin Luther King? Amelia Earhart? Albert Einstein? If you are willing to put yourself in the position of getting pregnant, you had better be ready to accept a possible pregnancy. The mere fact that a baby will grow if an abortion is not performed, speaks firmly that there is life. We need leaders with the courage to stand up for what is right, and not just speak of what they think will get them elected. Abortion advocates say it is all about choice, and it is. But that choice is supposed to occur BEFORE you become pregnant, not after.

With America’s patriotism at an all time low, I think these are things that would cause a great amount of change, which is what we are told over and over in this election cycle is what everybody is begging for. The fact of the matter (to address the final part of the question) is that there is actually very little any President can do to effect change in any of these areas. The President’s role is to lead by example and to try to set the agenda for legislation.

But he cannot legislate.

That job is reserved for the Congress.

And so, it is my hope that our next President will try to set the tone for the changes I’ve discussed. He or she CAN do a lot in that area. Perhaps a Congress that knows it will be backed by the President will be more bold in addressing the issues I’ve discussed here. Even those who disagree with these ideas will hopefully one day see that a more unified, patriotic, respectful America is something that is worth striving for. The genius of America is that even without the greatest leader, we can still be the greatest country by upholding our character, and acting as morally upright as possible. After all, we are America. It begins with you and me.


We would like to wish Allison DeCrescenzo the best of luck moving on to Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. Congratulations!

My name is Allison DeCrescenzo, and I am ecstatic about winning Christopher Santora Essay Contest! I go to a great school, Louis Armstrong Middle School, but as great as it is, I am so glad to be getting out! I am going to Frank Sinatra School of the Arts for high school next year—for vocals—and I am so excited!

I am interested in a lot of careers, but I could never see myself in an average, office job. Acting on Broadway is my dream career. But things like singing and interior or fashion/costume design are other very interesting choices. I also like writing, and reading. I love history too, and learning about how life was once. In fact, I like a lot of what goes on in school…everything except math! The fifties seem like they were the most wonderful time to live in, and I sometimes wish I was born then. It seems so much simpler. 

I love music. I love classic rock, and some indie/subgenre rock. My favorite band is The Beatles, but I also like the Rolling Stones and the Ramones. My friends are some of the most important people to me. There were some times in school I don’t think I could have gotten by without them. There are also a handful of teachers that have influenced me a great deal with their kindness and patience. They are what have made the past four school years so amazing.

I have had so much fun, and I hope to have a lot more fun pursuing my dream of becoming an actress. But whatever happens, I hope to enjoy everything that comes along the way, too.

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