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Cara Cunningham:
2013 Winner
P.S. 122

Cara Cunningham

Winning Essay

Friday December 14th 2012 will go down as one of the most horrible days in history since September 11th 2001. I remember coming out of school and my mother’s eyes were red and swollen. When we got home the tragedy was all over the news. Twenty beautiful and innocent young children and six educators murdered. Everyone was asking why and how this could happen. Will we ever know why people do what they do, I honestly don’t.

We must never forget what happened but we must start realizing that anything can happen at any time. School is not as safe as it use to be. Of course kids got into fights in and out of school but these days it is much worse. Weapons are being used instead of fists. It is up to all of us to make incidents like this stop. It seems people have lost their senses. The individuals who commit these horrific crimes don’t just snap out of the blue it is inside them and it is the obligation of loved ones, friends and educators around them to take action and seek professional help before it is too late just as the situation in Connecticut. The shooter was a young man in his twenties and his untreated condition made him act on the anger issues he possessed.

There are many ideas and plans authorities and government are suggesting about the tragic events currently happening. Gun control and background checks for individuals who want to purchase weapons seem to be top priority. It makes sense but what about those who posses these dangerous weapons already. How do we find out about their state of mind on why they need a weapon? Also, most of these shooters purchased their weapons and ammunition on-line. We have made it so easy for them to commit deadly crimes it is beyond my comprehension. Armed guards and metal detectors in schools are great ideas. All children no matter what their age should be protected. Old and new schools should have a lobby that you first walk into with a security guard at a desk that is equipped with two buzzers one to lock down all doors and sound an alarm warning teachers and students. Another connected to police departments. Individuals and students who need to enter the building should be screened with a metal detector and show I.D. An armed guard should protect the school and be switched from time to time from a different school and stand at a different entrance so they won’t be familiar faces to individuals thinking about acting out a crime. Billboards with acts of kindness could be displayed instead of those of violence from movies or video games. People should feel connected to each other, not disconnected.

The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary touched the hearts of everyone around the world. On that dreadful day they became a part of everyone’s family, it feels as if we all lost a loved one. I believe President Obama will do everything he can to change our future for the better and make it safer. Whatever plan or idea everyone is deciding on, it is a promising sign that we can work together to make a positive change for our society. Any change is better than doing nothing. We all want the violence to stop! It might take some time but we owe it to all the victims and their families who have been through unspeakable tragedies. We also owe it to the future victims because our fight to get dangerous weapons off streets did not come soon enough.


My name is Cara Patricia Cunningham. I am 10 years old and I attend P.S. 122 in Astoria Queens. I am in the 5th grade and I will be graduating at the end of June 2013. I am honored and excited to have won the Christopher Santora essay contest.

I love bowling with my family and friends. I have been on a bowling team for the past three years. I play the flute and I have been taking guitar lessons for four years.

My favorite color is pink. I like to draw, paint, dance, and ride my bicycle. My favorite subjects are social studies, math, and gym. I enjoy going to the beach, long car rides, roller coasters, playing with my Monster High dolls, computer games and tennis. My favorite foods are ravioli, mozzarella sticks, chicken parmesan and french fries. I listen to all types of music and I collect stickers.

My father’s name is Scott and my mother’s name is Jennifer. I have two brothers and a sister. My older brother Kevin is 18 years old and he will be starting college this fall. My younger brother Justin is 8 years old and my older sister Amanda who proudly won this essay contest in 2008 is 16 years old. Both my parents were born and raised in Astoria Queens. They both work hard and provide us with love, encouragement, and guidance. They are always there to lead us in the right direction, and help us reach our goals. One goal I hope to achieve is to become a pharmacist when I grow up.

I have a wonderful family that I love very much. They take care of me and teach me to be the best I can be at whatever I choose to do in my life and I thank them for that. I also want to thank Mr. and Mrs. Santora and their family for their inspiration and generosity.

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