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Daisy Oukaour:
2007 Winner
I.S. 141

Daisy Oukaour

Winning Essay

Majority rule. That is how decisions are made in America. When there is an argument, it’s crucial that politicians see both sides, if a square decision is to be reached. By looking at only one side of a conflict, the judge can be deceived. Each side will try to make their opinion look good and clean, and avoid mentioning any flaws it may have. Each side will try to make the other look inadequate. When both sides are examined carefully, however, it will not only be fairer to both sides, but the good and bad points of each opinion will be shown.

Many special interest groups, also referred to as pressure groups or advocacy groups, endeavor to change or influence elected officials’ opinions and decisions. It should not be allowed for lobbyists and special interest groups to have access to any elected officials. The groups can, and do, use persuasion, bribery, and sometimes even blackmail to get their way. Some lobbyists decide to influence government decisions not for the well being of the overall population, but for their own personal, sometimes financial interests. If a special interest group or individual really wants to persuade an elected official into making a decision to benefit them, they might go about doing so by making a monetary bribe. This will help no one! Officials were elected into office for a reason: the majority of the population trusted them to make responsible decisions, without being under the influence of others.

Government officials can get the information they need from sources other than special interest groups, and Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, is living proof. Mrs. Pelosi does not allow herself to be bribed into making decisions that she herself does not believe in. She still manages to get the information she needs to make thoughtful decisions from her parents, partially, who are also politically active, and she “stays in touch with the peoples’ needs because she is one of them”, as one reporter put it.

Elected officials are in office because many people wanted them to be. They should remember this when special interest groups come to them, attempting to change their positions. To make thoughtful decisions, these government officials should mingle with the community. They should become one more ordinary figure in the community sometimes, to put the community’s best interests ahead. By doing this, they will know what the general population wants. There are many ways to get enough information to make kind, fair, thoughtful decisions, and having lobbyists lean heavily on you to influence your decisions is not one of them.


We would like to wish Daisy Oukaour the best of luck moving on to St. John’s Prep. Congratulations!

My name is Daisy Oukaour, and I’m thirteen years old. I live with my parents and my sixteen year old brother in Astoria, New York. I’m in 8th grade at I.S.141 right now, but starting in September I’ll go to St. John’s Prep since I got a scholarship there. LaGuardia High School was my first choice, and I auditioned for drama but didn’t get accepted. I enjoy acting and photography, two things this school offered. But I’m going to join the drama club at St. John’s.

I like making jewelry, and sometimes selling it. I also spend a lot of time online talking to friends, listening to music, reading and writing Harry Potter Fanfiction, and making pictures in Photoshop. I play piano. I love the Harry Potter books, and can’t wait for the last one to be released.

I like swimming and water fights. In the winter, I like going skiing and snowtubing. My favorite colors are purple and yellow. I love shopping, especially for clothes and shoes. Cats and pandas are two of my favorite animals. Chocolate is one of my favorite foods. One of the things I spend a lot of time doing is playing card games like Spit and Uno.

I’m not a very neat person. My room is usually messy, and nothing of mine is organized. I’m not the type who knows where everything is, especially since everything I own is in a jumbled mess most of the time.

There are several things that I would want to do when I get older. I would like to be an actress, start my own jewelry company, or be photographer, mainly because those jobs involve some of my hobbies. I also hope to be able to get a cat if my allergies go away. My cat that I got last year had to be given away since I was allergic.

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