The Firefighter Christopher Santora Educational Scholarship Fund Website

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Karina Cadena:
2012 Winner
I.S. 10

Karina Cadena

Winning Essay

For the past several months the actions going on in Zuccotti Park on Wall Street has become a place of interest for the residents of New York City and all of the U.S. and is now becoming worldwide. Starting from September 17, 2011 an active mob of protestors decided to go against the government’s way of dealing with the economy and the division between the high class moneymaking people and the middle working class people. All these people, including ones not involved in the movement, have different opinions on this controversy. This has created an intense spark between the government and our citizens and its becoming more of a problem each day. The protestors on Wall Street won’t seem to stop till they get what they want.

What do these protestors want exactly? What’s the real reason for making signs that say, “We are the 99%” or standing and camping out in the cold and harsh weather? From what it seems these people are complaining about how the government isn’t enforcing the tax law on people such as millionaires, billionaries, and even trillionaries as on the middle working class that say they’ve worked a thousand times harder to support themselves in this poverty. Other reasons include the high unemployment rate our country is drowning in. People can’t seem to find jobs nowadays and are frustrated at the direction our country seems to be heading towards. They want the U.S. government to somehow make things fair between them or in other words, “Share the Wealth”. In my honest opinion, I disagree with this stance. I believe that most of the high class moneymaking people are where they are today because of their hard work and their ability to have set high goals for themselves and eventually reach their expectations. Take some of our famous performers for example, people like Michael Jackson (R.I.P), Taylor Swift, or even Adele. These people have most likely worked like crazy their entire life, spending time writing their songs, trying to make a reputation of themselves, wanting to get known and later on entertaining huge crowds of fans. They all paid a price to get there, and by that I don’t necessarily mean money, but they’ve worked long and hard to get where they are today. These people and many others have had huge success in their careers and now have a lot of money, but that doesn’t mean I, or other people, are entitled to have a share of their wealth. Their talent has done enough for many. They deserve this.

If you ask me what I think should be done to solve some of our country’s problems, I would say education. I believe in the saying, “Education is the key to success”. We need to put more work in our country’s education system and make this, and future generations ,succeed so they can have the American Dream and be able to live out their lives as they please. People should take all that energy and rage that they have formed to be able to go against our government, and make something for themselves and others as well. Heck, you could even be the next Mark Zuckerburg inventing something that a lot of people can benefit from and enjoy. As stated in an article written by Tami Luhby on October 030, 2011 for CNN Money, She states something that a lot of people should consider, “I am responsible for my own destiny, I will succeed or fail because of me and me alone.” So don’t count on the government to do something for you; do it for yourself. As a 14 year old, 8th grader, I don’t know much about politics, or arguments between other countries, and even war for that matter. But I do know that I want to be able to grow up in a place where I can be able to live out my dream and one day be as successful as others are today. Many other children my age would want that too. What should the government do about these protestors and this movement? Invest more in our country’s education, so the kids of the future will have a fair chance of making it into the world of business and be able to achieve their dreams. That is my opinion.


My name is Karina Cadena. I’m 14 years old and I’m an eighth grader at I.S.10 in Astoria, Queens. My life has been filled with angst and many disappointments but believe me when I say that winning this scholarship award has been one of the few moments where I have felt extremely proud of myself. I look back to when I was first writing the essay, it was probably 12 A.M on a school night and I had completely forgotten that I had to hand this in the next day. But I somehow pulled through and had it sitting on my teacher’s desk the next morning. I never would’ve thought that it would have me winning an award this amazing. So I thank you all who decided that my essay would be the best one out of all that were submitted. I’m a pretty normal person when I think of it. But I can say that I could sometimes be a little bit too optimistic about myself. Sometimes I just feel like I can do anything without worrying about the outcome or the consequences. I love to travel and explore the world and that’s why someday I hope to have a career that lets me do just that. My dream is to become a fashion designer and own a top-of-the-line clothing label, but you never know, things might change from now till then. I’m headed to the High School of Art and Design next year and I’m pretty excited about that because I know that’s where the beginning of building my future is. I look at the future with my head held high and completely prepared at what life throws at me, because I know that whatever happens in the years to come I’ll get through it and I’ll someday be the happy and successful person I’ve always dreamed of becoming.

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