The Firefighter Christopher Santora Educational Scholarship Fund Website

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Faheem Zaman:
2007 Winner
P.S. 122

Faheem Zaman

Winning Essay

“Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent.”

—Napoleon Bonaparte

America is a unique place to live in. There is no other place in the world where you can see so many different kinds of people, so many different kinds of beliefs and so much tolerance to diversity. However, this diversity is one of the reasons that some groups of people are not represented in government. Every system of government has its problems and this is an issue with a democracy. However, for every problem there is a solution. One solution is the practice of lobbying. Lobbying allows groups of people who have similar problems to make their problem visible to the officials who represent them in the government. That way, the legislature can make better decisions, since they will be better informed about the needs of the public.

Lobbyists must have access to elected officials so that groups that are not represented in government can voice their concerns. For these groups, lobbyists are an efficient and effective way to illustrate their needs to politicians who may be focused on other issues. However, some lobbyists are active agents of corruption, bribing politicians in order to help their clients. If lobbyists did not have legal access to politicians, then those who were corrupt would find a way to meet the officials, anyway. Since lobbying efforts are transparent, we can monitor it and put an end to the likes of Jack Abramoff. If the lobbying industry was forced underground, then it would be much harder to spot corruption in politics and eliminate it.

Officials need to listen to the viewpoints of lobbyists to make thoughtful and fair decisions for the public

good. However, they also need to consider the opposing viewpoint of the lobbyist. If politicians considered the number of people affected and the impact of a policy change, they would be capable of making decisions that would benefit the public. For example, if politicians listened to every whim of the tobacco lobby, then many people would be sick, perhaps even dead. When politicians considered the opposing viewpoint, they realized that the public should be warned about the dangers of cigarettes, so they placed many advertisements about the dangers of smoking. They also set up government funded programs to help smokers quit.

We also need to reform laws about contributions to politicians from lobbyists. This would kill two birds with one stone. First, it would minimize corruption and bribery. Second, it would allow officials to make fair, unbiased decisions. If politicians were not being bribed, then they would make more decisions that would be for the public good.

In theory, lobbying is a way to make sure that everyone’s concerns are heard in the government. In practice, however, corruption and bribery have made it less effective. We need to reform lobbying, but we must allow it to exist. Making lobbying illegal would silence millions of people who otherwise can’t speak. Lobbying is a way to communicate, and communication is the key to a healthy relationship. A healthy relationship between the people and the government is a deep-rooted principle of our nation, going back to the Declaration of Independence. A good relationship will keep our nation unified so that we can take on all obstacles, and remain the great nation that we are today.


We would like to wish Faheem Zaman the best of luck moving on to Stuyvesant High School. Congratulations!

My name is Faheem Zaman and I’m 14 years old. I live in Jackson Heights, NY with my parents and three sisters. I attend P.S. 122 in Astoria. In the future, I want to attend medical school and become a surgeon. I’ve been accepted to Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, so hopefully I will get a jumpstart on my future. Since I was very young, my parents have impressed upon me the importance of helping other people and leaving a positive legacy on the world. Studying medicine will help me to achieve that goal. I would eventually like to become a research doctor. This way, instead of helping a few patients at a time, research would benefit many people.

I would like to thank my family, my teachers and my friends for everything they’ve done for me. It would take another book to tell you how they have helped and guided me through life. My English teacher, Ms. Antzoulis, deserves a sentence of her own for telling me about this scholarship.

I’d like to thank the Santora family for the generous scholarship that they provided. It is very hard to lose a loved one, and to live every endless day without them. However, the Santora’s are keeping the memory of their son alive. They have every right to be listless. Instead, they are actively working to make sure that the memory of their son is alive. They are working tirelessly to ensure that justice is done. Their benevolent scholarship will not only help me and the other scholarship winners, it will prove that working hard to follow your dreams will pay off.

I would also like to commemorate their son, Christopher. He was a firefighter for New York and a hero for the world. During our nation’s most troubling time, he kept himself strong for the sake of New Yorker’s that needed help in such a desperate time. Heroes have a tendency to arise when we need them most, and Christopher was a perfect example. Christopher Santora lost his life while helping others, but what he symbolized, heroism, is alive and well.

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