The Firefighter Christopher Santora Educational Scholarship Fund Website

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In Hwan Cho:
2007 Winner
I.S. 10

In Hwan Cho

Winning Essay

In the United States of America we make decisions by majority rule. One of the most important duties of a politician is to hear both sides of an argument. Hearing both sides of an argument is very important because it helps him/her make an unbiased decision. If a politician doesn’t hear both sides of an argument they can easily make a bad decision. Yet, how do politicians get both sides of an issue, and who gives it to them? Politicians hear about various issues, from special interest groups, known as lobbyists. Lobbyists are groups of people who want to influence government for special interests. Many people today ask, “Should lobbyists be able to influence our elected officials?” I believe that they should.

I believe lobbyists should be able to influence politicians because it’s a way the people can influence the government. Also if special interest groups cannot influence elected officials, it goes against the first amendment. The central reason for lobbying is to petition something to the government. You may think that you cannot influence the government, but through lobbying you can. For example, if you have a petition which you would like to share with the government, you can join a special interest group with the same views. After you join your special interest group, and gain enough support, you gather the information necessary and go to your elected official and convince him/her to support your views. Although some special interest groups take advantage of lobbying by bribing politicians to support their views, the government is reforming lobbying in order to address this issue. Also, if you make lobbying illegal, which some want people to do, it will go against the first amendment. The first amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” This means Congress cannot prohibit people from petitioning to the government for reform. Making lobbying illegal would go against the first amendment and make it harder for the people to influence the government. Isn’t a democracy a government run by the people?

I believe that lobbyists should be able to influence politicians, but I am also aware of the fact that there are flaws like bribing and corruption. One way to enforce reform is to forbid lobbyists from giving “gifts” (trips, money, and freebees.) to politicians, his can help because “gifts” could also mean bribes. Finally, it should be a requirement for lobbyists to write detailed reports on their activities which should be posted on the internet for everyone to see. Having lobby groups write detailed reports would help reform because it would inform the people on what the lobbyists and the politician did. All of these suggestions would cause a politician to make the right decision not the most profitable one.


My name is In Hwan Cho and I am fourteen years old. I was born in South Korea on March 23rd, 1993 and came to the United States when I was one year old. I live with my mother, father and two older brothers.

I currently live in Woodside, New York with my family and attend I.S 10 Horace Greeley and will be attending Bronx High School of Science next year. I go to church at St. Raphael’s Roman Catholic Church in Greenpoint. My life may seem very mundane and many of my interests are not what you would expect from a fourteen year old. Some things that are very important to me are my faith, academics and Kendo martial arts. I hold faith as the most important thing of all because it keeps you from doing bad things and it’s nice to know there is someone you can always rely on and lean on.

Academics are very important for your future; if you don’t get good grades in high school you don’t go to a good college.

And Kendo martial arts is simply fun. I believe having fun is also very important in life. Although hitting people with heavy wooden swords doesn’t sound like fun, meeting new friends and winning is.

I was given the opportunity to enter this scholarship contest in my social studies class. When my teacher explained to me that I had won I was surprised since I did not know too much about the topic and had to research quite a bit on it. Now that I am being given this honor I would like to thank Mrs. Santora and the whole Christopher A. Santora Educational Scholarship fund.

In the packet I received it said that Christopher Santora always followed his dreams, and I hope that I can also achieve my own goals. Some of my goals for the future are to go to a good college, to become a priest or professor, and to write at least one literary work. One of my dreams, that this Scholarship fund has encouraged me to pursue, is my goal to write. This essay contest has encouraged me to write, by giving me confidence in my own skills as a writer. I would like to thank my family, friends, teachers and Mrs. Santora who put all of this together.

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