The Firefighter Christopher Santora Educational Scholarship Fund Website

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Melanie Kacin:
2011 Winner
P.S. 122

Melanie Kacin

Winning Essay

Our Nation, a Butterfly in the Making

Change is a slow, ongoing cycle, much like the lifecycle of a butterfly. A weak, struggling caterpillar metamorphoses into the majestic butterfly. Then the cycle goes on. Change is when there is a problem that needs improvement, and you do everything in your power to see to it that it eventually gets fixed. No matter how long the process takes, or how small the change is, any change is important. Change is a long process, but a momentous one, that has the power to transform our very lives.

President Obama promised change. In fact, I do believe that he has made some changes to our country. He changed the way people feel about race. Actually, simply by being elected as the first black President, he made a change. The racial barriers were torn down, and everyone in the country could see that skin color does not matter. Any person can do anything they dream about. In addition, Obama also appointed the first Latina Supreme Court Justice. This also proves that race does not matter. Obama also has other policies about changing the way people feel about race. I chose to include this change because racism is still a problem. People sometimes are threatened or feel like they can’t do something because of the color of their skin. These small changes made by Obama show the country that race does not determine how you should live your life. Anybody can do anything, no matter where they come from.

Obama also changed healthcare for our country. For the longest time, healthcare was not completely accessible for everyone. His policy makes healthcare affordable, and extend coverage to all people. Insurers will now pay for preventive services, so this will result in less sickness that could have been avoided. Seniors are receiving checks and the law will probably save Medicare eight billion dollars in the next two years. There are numerous other ways in which this law will help the people in our country. This change is a major one. I chose to include this change because I feel like this may be the single most important change that the Obama administration has instituted. Before the law, on the local news, I would hear horror stories of people who died because they could not afford any medical help. Hopefully, with the new healthcare, people will live longer, healthier lives. More importantly, maybe other countries with flawed systems will want to adapt theirs to ours, so that more people will have an improved quality of life. A change that inspires more change is the best kind of change.

Obama also changed policies regarding homosexuals. He repealed the unfair “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, made sure that homosexuals get the same medical care as everyone else, and supports anti-discrimination employment laws. I have noticed, even in a community such as my school, that gays and lesbians are discriminated against. People use the term “gay” as an insult. I feel that Obama’s actions are pivotal because once again, he is attempting to unite our country. He is trying to show our country that it is not acceptable for a country such as our own to be divided in a topic so trivial. Your sexual orientation in no way should determine what kind of services you receive, or how you are treated. He is trying to change our ways of accepting things.

These three aforementioned changes are not the only changes made by our President to our country. These changes have not fully reached their potential yet, but that is quite okay. Change is a slow, drawn out process that has the power to change our lives and how we view things, and inspire more change. Obama has changed people's views on race, healthcare, and homosexuals, to name a few. Not only is he changing the way we view these things, he is actually trying to bring about tangible change, by creating policies and laws. Obama has transformed our weak, troubled nation into a stronger nation. Our country is a butterfly in the making.



My name is Melanie Kacin and I am a graduating eighth grader from P.S. 122. Next September, I will be attending Bard High School Early College in Queens with a few classmates.

Some of my hobbies include writing and drawing. I especially enjoy writing short stories and poetry, and one day aspire to become an English teacher. I would like to share the joy that writing and reading bring to me, and the ultimate dream would be to someday teach at P.S. 122, and follow in one of my best teacher’s footsteps.

I also enjoy painting and drawing, and I was accepted into LaGuardia High School. I enjoy art whenever I have downtime and detest the art classes at my current school. They are too structured for me, and don’t let the students be creative at all. I believe that you don’t have to be especially talented to have fun with art.

I am a self-confessed avid reader, and will read almost anything I can get my hands on. My favorite books include The Count of Monte Cristo, The Hunger Games, and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. I’ve been reading ever since I was little, and I have not stopped loving it since. I read every day, even when I don’t have enough time for other things in my life. I simply stay up ‘til the wee hours poring over a book. I can read everything from Shakespeare to a history textbook and not get bored, and I can tolerate it when teachers make me read books without finding the task of completing the book tedious. I hope to become a writer one day, even if I am not famous. Just having a book in print that I can say I wrote will be enough.

My two favorite subjects are English and American history, and these happen to also be my best subjects. I have always loved English and recently acquired an extreme liking towards history. I have an amazing teacher who makes the textbook seem like reading an adventure story. History is the most engaging when you have a wonderful teacher who can make history come alive. Of course, my English teacher is phenomenal. She is extremely patient and nurturing, and inspired me to dream of becoming an English teacher myself. I love the teachers in both of these subjects and will find it hard to ever accept any other teacher in this subject. It will be too hard to adjust to anything less than them.

I absolutely hate math and gym, though my math teacher makes me want to do better, despite my being mathematically challenged. I simply am no good at sports, so I don’t ever see myself getting better, but I still try.

The one thing I treasure most is P.S. 122 and everything it brought me. I’ve had seven superb years at this school, and will find it hard to move on. I will always hold my friends and teachers dear to my heart. I will never forget the school that taught me to shoot for the moon.


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