The Firefighter Christopher Santora Educational Scholarship Fund Website

Box Top

Jenna Considine:
2010 Winner
FDNY Engine 307

Jenna Considine

Winning Essay

President Obama has described Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay detention camp as “a sad chapter in American history.” Guantanamo Bay, a United States naval base, has been detaining suspected terrorists since 2002. Many have considered torture tactics used at Guantanamo Bay to be a human rights scandal because detainees have been beaten, burnt, and sexually assaulted while serving their sentences. However, I believe Guantanamo Bay should remain as a functioning detention camp. Any terrorist, regardless of how effective they truly are, should be considered highly dangerous and unpredictable. I feel that these terrorists should be harshly interrogated and in some cases even tortured for displaying acts of violence and hatred towards America.

When the Spanish-American War had ended, the United States had obtained control of Cuba from Spain. In 1903, Presidents of the United States and Cuba, Theodore Roosevelt and Tomás Estrada Palma signed the Cuban-American Treaty resulting in America’s lease of the 45 square miles of land and water at Guantanamo Bay. The signing of this treaty allowed the United States to use Guantanamo Bay as a naval base. Cuba was allowed to maintain their sovereignty over the area but this treaty gave the United States absolute jurisdiction and control. The Guantanamo Bay also contains a detention camp that had previously detained no more than 30 refugees of Haitian or Cuban descent. However, in 2002 President George W. Bush used the Guantanamo Bay detention camp to imprison hundreds of suspected terrorists, many of whom have been linked to Al-Qaeda or the Taliban, captured from Afghanistan.

When the United States first leased Guantanamo Bay it was an important military achievement. Placing a naval base at Guantanamo Bay allowed the United States to protect the Panama Canal and plan for future invasions of areas around Guantanamo Bay. However, in the 1990’s the purpose for the base at Guantanamo Bay had changed. Now the base was not only a military training ground, it was now used to detain refugees and was beneficial because of its exterritorial status. The Guantanamo Bay base is important to the United States because it aids in the war on terrorism keeping what are considered to be “Unlawful Enemy Combatants” far enough away from America. The “Gitmo” detainment camp is unlike any prison because of its harsh punishment used on terrorists. However, I believe these tactics are important if the United States has any intent on getting information out of detained terrorists and ultimately defeating terrorism.

If Guantanamo Bay is closed, detainees will be released and allowed to stand on trial like any American would had he or she committed a crime. American citizens that commit crimes and terrorists are of two completely different calibers. I believe terrorists should not have the right to stand on trial or receive any sort of bail out. If by chance a terrorist is released, America as a whole could be placed in jeopardy because that terrorist could go back to committing the heinous crimes that put him in Guantanamo Bay in the first place. No American citizen wants to relive a disaster such as September 11th ever again. I believe any terrorist receives American rights and is allowed to stand on trial with the possibility of bail; the chance for another terrorist attack will increase greatly.

Currently, there are many terrorist who are waiting to be detained at Guanatanamo Bay. If Guantanamo Bay is closed, I believe these terrorists should not receive a trial and be executed or remain in solitary confinement at a top rated prison. Terrorists should not be detained along with other American citizens because of the harm they could inflict on them. It would be beneficial to America to keep Guantanamo Bay open because terrorists should pay for the harm they’ve caused and should be kept far from United States territory.


We would like to wish Jenna Considine the best of luck moving on to The State University of New York at Cortland. Congratulations!

I would like to start by thanking my family and teachers who have helped me get to where I am today. Without them, I would not have been able to reach the goals I set for myself or grow to be the person I have become.

My name is Jenna Considine and I have lived in on Long Island for the past 18 years of my life. I am a senior at Bethpage High School. Throughout my high school career, I have participated in various clubs, sports, and after school activities. I ran on my school’s varsity winter and spring track teams for two years where I competed in mostly sprints. I was also one of the editors in my school’s yearbook club. For all of my junior and senior year, once a week after school I taught religious education to a group of outstanding 4th graders. I have also been working at a local supermarket as a cashier since I was 14. Working at a supermarket for 4 years helped me build my social and business skills because I have dealt with every type of person out there. Learning how to associate with different people in different situations has enabled me to prepare for a profession in the future.

Having all of these responsibilities may seem overwhelming but have aided greatly in my acceptance to the 7 out of 8 colleges I applied to. I will be attending SUNY Cortland in the fall of 2010 with a possible secondary education major. I am one of the first in my family to attend college, which is already the cause of much excitement. Receiving this scholarship as well has made my family even more proud of me. I am thoroughly excited to start college in September and am ready to begin a new chapter in my life. I would like to thank the Santora family because without them, I would not have had the opportunity to receive this award. I’m honored to have been chosen to receive this scholarship and I thank all who were involved.

Box Bottom