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Blake Cholost:
2010 Winner
Bayside High School

Blake Cholost

Winning Essay

“The message we are sending around the world is that the United States intends to prosecute the ongoing struggle against violence and terrorism, and we are going to do so vigilantly; we are going to do so effectively; and we are going to do so in a manner that is consistent with our values and our ideals.” This is what President Barack Obama said when asked why he wishes to close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp in Cuba. This statement is inaccurate and is a misinterpretation of what should be done with Guantanamo Bay Prison. First of all how are you “Prosecuting the struggle against violence and terrorism”, if you are closing the very base which benefits us in the War on Terror? Guantanamo Bay Prison is a necessity for the war on terror because it enables us to bypass the spirit of the Geneva Convention, which the terrorists do not follow at all. How can you treat the very people who want to harm our country, with respect and the right to a fair trial in the US? They should not be given the same liberties that a criminal in the US receives. I believe that we are protecting American values and ideals when we are interrogating the very people who persecute us, and want all of us DEAD.

In 1903, the United States leased the land from Cuba for the original use as a coaling station. A treaty in 1934 reaffirmed the lease of $2,000 dollars in gold per year. The requirement was that in order to terminate the lease it had to be a mutual agreement. When diplomatic relations between the two countries went bad in 1961, right before President Kennedy was inaugurated, the area became a war zone. Fully armed, locked and loaded soldiers on both sides of the dividing wall, between Cuba and Guantanamo, have to man posts 24 hours a day to protect if conflict occurs. There are many reasons as to why it has been very important to have this base. Some of these include, preventing drug trafficking from the Caribbean to the US, occupying a strategic military base that is part of communist Cuba, and throughout the War on Terror it housed very dangerous Al-Qaeda members whom cannot be brought to US prisons because of the high security risks that they are. Clearly Guantanamo Bay is an important and necessary asset to the United States of America.

When vital information is at stake people often go to the extreme to protect it. With Guantanamo Bay that vital information is sometimes attained, although not the most aesthetically pleasing methods are used to attain it. Closing Guantanamo Bay Prison may cost Americans their lives, for the ignorant sake of the enemy. The enemy’s punishment should be deserving of what they have done, and not be lenient to preserve President Obama’s interpretation of what American values and ideals are. My immediate family has had veterans from three wars, including WWII, The Korean War, and The Vietnam War. I have been raised to respect and honor my country, and I know what it is to be a true American. Preserving our freedom and protecting American lives are more important than the lives of those who serve under the command of the terrorist regime. They bear extreme hate, and we bear the need to protect the world from their terrorizing ways.

Guantanamo Bay, if shut down will lead to high ranking terrorists on American soil, and lots of money added to the deficit. Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mayor of New York at the time of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, said that “The Obama administration’s decision to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described mastermind of the attacks, in a civilian court in Manhattan would unnecessarily cost millions of dollars for security, create legal advantages for the defense and symbolically deny that the United States is at war with terrorism”. Now picture this on a larger scale, because the amount of terrorists that “need” to be tried in the US is much more than just one. Although nearly impossible to cure, if the base closes we must offset these changes by paying more money in taxes, spending more money on homeland security and setting up a new facility to house these terrorists in the United States. Clearly, the remaining detainees should not have a right to Habeas Corpus in American courts because their actions were a military attack on American soil, and against American soldiers. For that reason alone, they should be tried in a military tribunal. They seek no fairness in their values and ideals, and wish nothing upon us except Death. When I look at a waving American flag I think about the beautiful unification of all ethnic groups and people of many religions. I am a fair and balanced person, but the equality ends and does not apply to these barbaric killers of innocent people, for they must pay for what they have done. Guantanamo Bay is a necessary component in our war on terrorism.

Biography

We would like to wish Blake Cholost the best of luck moving on to University of Connecticut. Congratulations!

As Forest Gump put it, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” My name is Blake Cholost, I am seventeen years old and it seems that at so many points in my life, I could relate to this quote. What this quote means is that there is no way of telling what your future will be until it becomes your past. From a very young age when I was living in Florida, I always wanted to be a major league baseball player. I would toss a ball around whenever I got a chance. I have been playing organized baseball since I was 4 years old. Baseball, although it is my favorite sport was not the only sport I play, I play many sports and am very good at bowling. Sports have not only made me stronger physically, but they have also made me stronger mentally. They teach you strategy, team work, and the incredible want to succeed. Sports have made me a better person and a good student.

After living in Florida until the age of 4, I moved to New York where my family was originally from. Although the weather was better in Florida, there was no better place for me to grow up other than in the “Big Apple”. It was the home of my favorite baseball team, the Yankees, it possessed a myriad of cultures, and it is the city that never sleeps.

Then came time for high school. When entering Bayside High School, I did not know what to expect. I was a little fish in a huge pond. My high school at the time of entering had 4,000 students and I was determined to be an important fraction of that large number. I am in the SMART program, and I am involved and part of various clubs and varsity teams. This made it an exceptional trip through high school. I was on both Varsity Baseball and Varsity Bowling for 4 years. I travelled to Europe with my school’s humanities program, once to Paris, France and the other time to Spain and Italy. These trips were two of the greatest times of my life. In my senior year as team captain of the bowling team I won the city individual championship, being crowned the number one bowler in New York City. In high school, I met a number of good friends and a great number of helpful and friendly teachers.

Even though all of these events have shaped me, these events were all because my family made them possible. Every single moment of my life my mom and dad have been teaching me lessons. It seems like they have read every single fable and know all of the morals the fables teach. My parents are a huge influence on me and help me be successful to this day.

Well now it is time for me embark on my second journey which is college. In the fall I will be attending the University of Connecticut, which many college sports fans know as UCONN. With the combination of help from my supportive family, the sports I play, and my high school experiences, I will now be a “big” fish entering an even “bigger” pond.

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