The Firefighter Christopher Santora Educational Scholarship Fund Website

Box Top

Katherine DeCrescenzo:
2010 Winner
I.S. 141

Katherine DeCrescenzo

Winning Essay

Contain the Threat. Protect & Defend

Warm Sun, filling meals, hot showers, comfortable beds, and plenty of time all to yourself. Sound like a relaxing vacation? Think again. This is the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. On his first day in office, President Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay within a year’s time. That deadline has come and gone, and the camp remains open. The decision to close the camp was based on the idea that it defied the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions, which state that excessive bail, excessive fines imposed, and cruel and unusual punishments should not be administered. President Obama believes that closing the detention center makes the U.S. safer and that no one deserves to be “tortured.”

I believe otherwise.

In my opinion, closing the Guantanamo Bay detention center is detrimental to the safety of the United States. If the Obama administration were to close Guantanamo, where would the remaining prisoners go? Into our prisons. These terrorists would have to be tried in our courts and sent to our jails, increasing the chance of releasing a menace into our society. These prisoners would like nothing more than to kill us all, and yet we would be giving them the same rights as you and I — American citizens — rights which these detainees do not deserve. In addition, if the Guantanamo Bay prisoners are released into our prisons, there is a chance that many of their willing fellow inmates will get ideas from these terrorists and put them into action when they are released. That would just be creating more eager radicals to release into our modern day life.

It has been said many times that the prisoners of Guantanamo Bay are repeatedly tortured. That their living quarters are disgusting and that it is hazardous to their health. That is not true. Their living quarters are simple yet accommodate the prisoners quite well. Each prisoner is provided with a U.S. Army standard foam bed, a blanket, two buckets, a canteen, two orange suits, one pair of flip-flops, a towel, bathing items, a prayer mat, and a copy of their religious book, the Koran. Their cell rooms are quite comfortable and they have decent and very filling meals, along with plenty of personal time. Most of the prisoners are in better living quarters than they were before capture. By keeping these prisoners contained, we are keeping the rest of society safe. We don’t want these detainees on our U.S. soil. By keeping them far away (Cuba) in a high-security prison, one that is actually very comfortable, we are not defying the Constitution or the Geneva Conventions, while keeping the thugs locked up far away.  In fact, the Geneva conventions only apply to prisoners of war. These terrorists do not wear the uniform of any country, they fight instead for an ideology of hatred. Since they are enemy combatants by law, the Geneva Convention rules do not apply to them.

What a wonderful and peaceful world it will be when the people who would be elated to blow us up are released from Guantanamo! Common sense ALONE should tell us that we need to keep these thugs and murderers locked up and far away in a dedicated place such as Guantanamo Bay. If we release these lowlives, we are putting America in jeopardy. For example, it turns out that Taliban’s new operations officer (a wonderful job, don’t you think?) was one of the many released prisoners at Gitmo. HE WAS RELEASED, and therein lies the problem. He had the nerve to accept such a high-profile job, and now he is plotting the deaths of as many of our American soldiers as possible, as well as our fellow citizens. This evil man is influencing and leading other previous Guantanamo internees who have once again joined the militant guard. If these prisoners are released, don’t you think that those countries who would do us harm will look down upon us as faint hearted? If we keep Guantanamo Bay open and running we can prove that, as Americans, we are strong and we will fight for our liberty and safety. By keeping Guantanamo Bay open we contain the threat and show that we will fight for our rights, for as long as necessary.  This needs to happen now.

There is a process of cause and effect. If your cause is wrong, then you had better be ready for the effect, and in this case that effect is imprisonment. Guantanamo Bay, is saving our nation from chaos by keeping those murderers far away from society.  While I believe the camp should remain open, I do not support torture methods. I don’t think that anyone should be tortured. I do not believe that anyone has the right to take away another’s life. The sixth commandment states “thou shalt not kill,” and I think that we must live by that rule, because we are all children of God, and we cannot call ourselves true Americans in the land of freedom and so willingly take away another’s life.

I do think, however, that if it was President Obama’s family that was in jeopardy, or that had lost a son, daughter or loved one, he might have thought twice before he made such a promise.

Our liberty and justice need to be protected and defended. How many more lives will we have to lose before President Obama realizes that?


We would like to wish Katherine DeCrescenzo the best of luck moving on to Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. Congratulations!

My name is Katherine DeCrescenzo and I am the third child of four, born on on December 20. I am an eighth grader attending I.S.141 middle school. During my time at 141 I have met some of the most wonderful people on the Earth. My friends and a bunch of teachers are what helped to make school fun. My favorite subjects are English and Social Studies. I also like Science, so I pretty much like all the subjects taught at school… except MATH, I REALLY hate Math. Gym also plays a big part of my enjoying school.

As much as I love I.S. 141, and most of the people there, I can’t wait to move on! Next year I will be attending Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, to study in the Fine Arts Studio, and I am so excited. Someday in the future, I might like to be a part of musical theatre. For many years I have wanted to go to either Princeton or John’s Hopkins University for college. I have thought about being a pediatric cardiologist, or maybe a career in the field of Creative Arts.

I couldn’t have possibly done this without the support and love of my family. They have helped me so much to do whatever I want to, and they are a great part of my success so far. So thank you to all of my wonderful family for their love and support.

Some of the things I like to do in my free time are reading, drawing, singing, and most sports. I play softball at ICYP, moving mostly around the infield—especially shortstop and third base.

I love music. I have always been into classic rock. My favorite bands are The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Aerosmith at the moment. Stuff like that changes frequently for me.

I would like to thank Al and Maureen Santora. Christopher gave his life to save others, and for that, he is a true hero. May his memory never be forgotten, and live in the hearts of all those he touched. Thank you to the Judges for picking my essay as a winning one, I am truly grateful.

Box Bottom