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Chandler Gregoire:
2009 Winner
P.S. 122

Chandler Gregoire

Winning Essay

It has been more than forty years since the nation was as energized over an election of a United States President as this year. This excitement was because the citizens of America believed that their vote could now actually make a difference. The idea of an African American as President gave people hope about the things they could accomplish as individuals and that we could accomplish as a country in this new era. Secondly, because of the recession, people have recognized the economic hardships the country and many individuals are facing. They now realize that its their duty to help change the economic status of the country by exercising their right to vote. Because people realized that they needed to vote to change the outcome of the economic status of the country, they were determined to choose the person best qualified to be their President. President Barack H. Obama connected with and continues to relate to people in a way that gives them the reassurance that their voice will be heard in the government. This unique relationship encouraged people to vote and thus people felt invested in the election and were excited about the election results. Americans once again have faith in the political system. They believe in the democratic process and that their vote will be heard again. The election process became fun, exciting, and had people sitting on the edge of their seats. Americans were so excited about this election that thousands turned out to vote because they really believed that their vote could make a huge difference, and it did.

We have now entered a different era. We have elected the first African American President. This historical event gives America hope about eliminating racial boundaries and stereotypes we previously thought were always going to exist. Even before Obama became President, the fact that he was a presidential candidate was revolutionary. With the election of Obama, the world has changed and this change has given hope to the American public. The common phrase he used at rallies and speeches, and everything in between, was “America the time for change has come!” Well, much of America agreed. The change they were looking for was a change in power, ideas, and beliefs. The ability for a man of color to be the person with the most power in our great nation is ground-breaking. As Obama mentioned in his speech, less than forty years ago an African American man would have had to give up his seat in the front of the bus to a white passenger, but today that man can now take the Presidential oath. This was the change America was looking for. This is the change America was excited about. This is the change that many thought would never come, but it did, and just at the time when we needed it. This was the change that caused Americans to take part in the electoral process, because if we can elect an African American President, than our vote really does make a difference.

Not only have we gained the hope we need to help the nation, but we also have realized that the nation needs serious help. Because of the recession, people have realized that we need to take action to help our country. Many people have lost their jobs and houses and suffered because of the economic crisis facing our country and they’ve realized that the only way they can change their future is by doing it themselves. They therefore voted.

The recession has contributed greatly to the hype about the election. America now had to consider who would be the person that would lead us out of this economic state that we cannot afford to be in for much longer. Now it was not only about your political party and whether you want to vote for a Democrat or a Republican, it was now more about who could lead us out of this recession as soon as possible. Whether you were a Democrat, Republican, or an independent, the recession caused everyone to take a larger part in the election because American citizens were the ones who would pay the price for the wrong candidate. The importance of this choice resulted in citizens exercising their right to vote.

Obama connected to people in a way that made them feel that their voice would be heard in the government. This is a quality that John F. Kennedy also had which was one reason why the nation was so excited about the election of 1960. Because of this characteristic, America trusted that their voice, concerns and issues would and will be heard by Obama. With the newfound confidence in Obama, many people became excited about the election in the sudden realization that they will create their political future.

Another reason the nation was so enthusiastic about the election was because they had faith in the political process again – they had chosen an African American to be their Presidential candidate. Many people who have never voted before or haven’t voted for a long time decided to vote in this election. They felt that their vote would count again and that they would make a difference. After the Supreme Court ruling in the election of 2000, many people felt that they their vote did not matter and they lost faith in the election process. In the 2008 election, their faith in the political process was restored and they now believed their vote could change the world and make history.

As you can see, there were many reasons why the nation was so energized over this election. Obama made this a truly historic election but it was the thousands of people who voted who really made the difference. The nation came together as one, to choose someone the democratic way who will lead us into the new era ahead because their faith in the electoral process was restored. We trusted the candidates and put our faith in them in the hopes that they’ll lead us and “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States.”


We would like to wish Chandler Gregoire the best of luck moving on to Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. Congratulations!

My name is Chandler Gregoire and I’m an 8th grade student at PS 122. Since I’m in 8th grade, I will be graduating from PS 122 this year. Although I will miss it, I’m looking forward to attending Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and The Performing Arts. I also got offers from Bronx High School of Science and Bard High School Early College, to complete the total number of three possible offers. Applying to New York City High Schools was a very long process-4 months, not including the preparations for the tests, interviews, and auditions I underwent. However, it was well worth it.

My favorite subject in school is English, although many other subjects interest me. I like English because I love writing narratives, fictional stories and especially plays. I also love to act in plays and movies, as well. In December of 2008 I was actually in my very first equity play, Binge put on by The Shalimar Theatre Company. It had six short plays put together to create it. I starred in the one called “Mmmmmmmmmm” about four girls talking about what their last supper would be. Each year in the play festivals they create, such as Binge, The Shalimar explores a unique topic that all Americans can relate to. This year, with Binge they explored Americans’ attachment to food and what it means to them.

I also starred as the lead of an independent short film called Tainted. It explores and follows the night of a young girl Janice (whom I played) as she discovers the harsh realities of the world of drugs. I was involved in rehearsals and filming of this throughout February, March, and part of April. This film is being submitted into multiple film festivals around the globe, such as Sundance, New York Film Festival and Cannes and will hopefully be selected for at least one.

After I finished working on Tainted, I was cast to be a part of New York by David Rimmer, a play about 9/11. This was an equity staged reading on one night in April. It was an unforgettable experience. It was originally wrote as a few short scenes to help pay for the extra psychiatrists needed after 9/11. It continued on to be a play performed in various theatres all around the country.

Now, I’m working on Project Citizen, a very big exit project, in which we find an issue we care about and propose a policy to help solve it. My group and I chose the lack of recycling policies in New York City. We have based our policy on methods that have already been used and proven to work in the San Francisco Bay Area. We will be presenting our project on May 21st at Pace University.

In the future, I hope to become an influential leader in America, and throughout the world. I want to help change things that aren’t already working and also entertain, because when times are bad, the thing people need most is a laugh.

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