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Michelle Punsamie:
2006 Winner
I.S. 227

Michelle Punsamie

Winning Essay

Being president is no easy job, but it’s also one of the most important jobs in America. However, most people take the presidency for granted. Most people think that the president is just a man who holds great power in his hands. I am not like most people. I know that with great power comes great responsibility. That’s why I have high expectations of the president. I feel he should be strong, and able to stand up and fulfill his duties as President without shame. The truth is we all look up to the president. He is our role model. He represents our country. For him to be strong, it will show our country is tough and strong, too.

The president must be unbiased. This will show that he believes in giving everyone a fair shot in life. In fact, that is what America is all about. He must be reasonable in order to make great choices for the people. America and the conditions of our country depend on the choices our leader makes everyday.

We all need a president that is honest. Politicians tell “white lies” all the time to get voted. Our president should know better than to lie straight to the faces of innocent Americans. During his speeches, he shouldn’t beat around the bush, but should get straight to the point without trying to make a bad situation sound good. After all, isn’t honesty what makes people trust you? When the people of a country trust their leader, the country grows stronger with the bond the citizens have with the president. Only a country such as that could develop to be rich and successful.

The president must also be well versed in foreign affairs. He needs to know what’s happening around the world at all times. He needs to know the latest news—what went on and where it happened.

The list can go on and on, but the truth is, nobody is perfect. Not even the president of the United States of America. Yet even though perfection is hard to achieve and nearly impossible, there are some qualities a president should not possess.

The president should never act cowardly. If you show people that you are afraid, they too will become afraid. That’s why it’s important to look brave on the outside even when on the inside fear is eating you alive.

Our leader should never turn back on his word. If he promised that he would do something for the people, then he should fulfill that promise. He should do whatever he must to make that promise come true. If he never gave to the people what he promised them, it would be as good as lying. And where does lying get you? It gets you lack of trust from your people.

I know that having a family can be more important than having a job. And I believe that presidents should never fail to be a good father or husband or both just because of their job. Having a job (even when it’s as important as the presidency) is a terrible excuse to miss out on your family.

Being president is a career I can’t even imagine pursuing. It’s a strenuous, exhausting, and demanding job. The next time you see a picture of our president, you should smile and think, “With great power comes great responsibility.”


My name is Michelle Ann Punsamie. I’m fourteen years old and attend the Louis Armstrong Middle School. I’ve always enjoyed writing and decided to enter the Firefighter Christopher Santora essay contest. About two months after I’d written it, my Language Arts teacher entered my homeroom and shared the good news with me. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing — I had actually won the essay contest! It was an amazing feeling, knowing that I had won a contest. It makes you feel special, like an elite member almost.

I am constantly writing. In my spare time, I’ll open up my laptop and continue a story I’d started a while ago. The one unfortunate habit I have is that when I start a short story, I’ll abandon it. The only time I’ll finish one of my stories is when I have to hand it in to be graded in class. And someday those stories will be published and on the shelves of Barnes and Noble. Someday I’ll be a famous author and everyone will know my name.

Music is also a big part of my life. I play classical music on the sitar. It helps to keep my mind sharp and focused, and I love hearing the soft notes flow from the hard metal strings attached to the instruments. It’s incredible how such sounds can come from a few strings and a hand to pull them. Whenever I feel overwhelmed with homework and school projects, I’ll just take an hour off to play on my sitar to feel grounded and less stressed. You could think of it as a form of meditation. The sitar is not the only instrument I play. I like knowing how to play a variety of instruments.

My life is really hard to sum up in a few sentences. Nobody’s life can be summed up in a few sentences, but I have learned that writing can show a person a very personal side of you that people otherwise could not see. That’s why I write in my spare time. It’s the best way to express you.

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