The Firefighter Christopher Santora Educational Scholarship Fund Website

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Gioemi Orofino:
2007 Winner
Long Island City High School

Gioemi Orofino

Winning Essay

“I Believe Our Nation Stands for Freedom”

When creating our Constitution, the Framers succeeded in creating a document that would outlive all other government outlines in any other country. Our Constitution has been so successful because it protects the rights of the people it governs, prevents a high concentration of power to one branch or individual and paves a path for change as time progresses. It can be argued whether our government is a “true” democracy since citizens are not directly involved in decision making, but it is a realistic democracy which has effectively made decisions to ultimately benefit each individual. Thus, The United States Government has set freedom, equality and success synonymous with our nation through various decisions which have set a standard of excellence for us as citizens, as well as a model for the world.

One important decision was granting women the right to vote in the year 1920. The 19th amendment states, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” This was a crucial and pivotal decision in our nation’s history. This amendment recognized women as individuals with the capacity and intellect to participate in governmental matters. Since the ratification of this amendment, women of the United States have sought to further establish their equality and break into male dominated fields such as politics, business and sciences. This was a wise decision because of its impact on American progression. The 19th amendment was the cue for women to leave their traditional roles behind and become teachers, scientists, astronauts, executives, government officers and in turn, spur many reforms and make contributions to our nation.

A second vital action taken by our government was passing Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Social Security Act in 1935. This act launched support for the aged, blind and dependent persons, crippled children, maternal and child welfare, public health services and unemployment. Social Security is imperative for retired individuals who often resulted in poverty for their lack of income. This act is another reason why the United States is a role model country. Our government supports and cares for its poor and ill citizens by granting them aid, as opposed to viewing them as a burden. This decision is beneficial to every citizen because it grants him a sense of security and protection; there is help when it is necessary.

A third essential decision was the desegregation of schools as a result of the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court case. “Does segregation of children in the public schools solely on the basis of race deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunity? We believe that it does,” declared Chief Justice Warren, on behalf of all the Supreme Court justices. This decision to integrate schools was fundamental to starting the Civil Rights Movement, which ultimately led to the desegregation of all public facilities. This ruling has greatly impacted American society. More diversity ensued which has turned our nation into one abounding with different cultures, opinions and points of views. It is this sort of diversity that is integral to progression because it exposes society to ample ideas and judgments, all within reach.

My suggestions to help elected officials make thoughtful and fair decisions would be to become more involved with the common public. Elected officials should visit workplaces, schools, neighborhoods and listen to what common Americans ask of them. This method may bring to their attention new issues that had been overlooked or easily ignored. By exposing elected officials directly to their public, they can make the best decisions to reflect the needs of their people. Additionally, elected officials should look to get their public more involved in voting. There is a great amount of apathy towards non-presidential elections. Officials should emphasize the importance of voting in every election because when more citizens are voting, there is a more accurate representation of what the United States population wants from their government. These two reforms would enable elected officials to accurately act on the behalf of their people and make the most thoughtful and fair decisions.

Through their choices, the United States government has shaped our nation into the diverse and prosperous country it is today. Our nation stands for freedom, equality and success and the issues of women’s suffrage, social security and desegregation, prove why this is so.


We would like to wish Gioemi Orofino the best of luck moving on to Babson College. Congratulations!

My name is Gioemi Orofino. I am 18 years old and I will graduate from Long Island City High School this June. In the fall, I will be attending Babson College in Massachusetts. It is the #1 school for entrepreneurship, and I chose it because I hope to start my own business one day. My father was a store owner and I’ve had an interest in business ever since I was young. On Saturdays I attend the Escuela Argentina de Nueva York. I have been going every Saturday since I was 9 years old. There, I practice reading and writing in Spanish. We also learn about Argentinean culture, which interests me because my father is from Buenos Aires, Argentina. I have family there too and love to go visit them; I have an amazing time whenever I go. I currently work part-time at Lehman Brothers as an intern. Over the summer I will work there full-time to save money for college. In my free time I like to be with my friends and family. I also like baking because I love chocolate and will make anything that looks yummy in a picture. I love to sing too, despite my friend’s and family’s pleas to stop (to say the least, I am not a talented singer, but it makes me happy to sing along to my favorite songs). Although I do not have time to practice anymore, I am a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and instructed children in the martial art for several years. I hope to start a club at Babson College where I can teach women basic self defense to get themselves out of a bad situation.

I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the Santora family. It is an honor to receive this scholarship in the memory of Christopher Santora. I knew him personally through the after-school program at P.S. 2 where I attended for the 5th grade. I remember him fondly; he was very funny and always willing to help a student with his/her homework. His courage was not in vain though; he will always be remembered by the many whose hearts he touched. I would also like to thank my parents; they are so supportive of everything I do. They have always been my motivation to strive and try to achieve as much as possible in life. I am going to miss them and my two younger sisters incredibly when I leave home in the fall.

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