The Firefighter Christopher Santora Educational Scholarship Fund Website

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Nora Rivera-Larkin:
2015 Winner
I.S. 227

Nora Rivera-Larkin

Winning Essay

Webster’s dictionary defines justice for all as “the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited reward or punishments for everyone.” I think that justice for all represents the passion America has for fairness. But I do not think that America has always lived up to it. Often we are seen as not fair. Justice for all is a moral gray area in the U.S. and the lines between right justice and wrong justice are often blurred.

As kids we are taught the pledge of allegiance. We repeat it over and over again until it comes naturally to us and we don’t even have to think about it. This is the problem. Kids do not think about the meaning of the pledge of allegiance. They are not taught its real meaning. If one kid, one class, one school were to really think about the pledge of allegiance and about that final phrase “justice for all” they would realize that while there is justice in America there is not enough. Not enough bad people, such as ISIS and Al’Quieda, are brought to justice in this world and in America.

​Justice for all means a lot to me. For me it symbolizes the hope that this great country has gifted me. These words show me everyday that my country trusts me to grow up and make great decisions. Justice for all means that my country is hard at work trying to keep me safe and trying to teach me right from wrong.

In my elementary school one selected child (a different one each day) would be chosen and sent down to the main office. They would be handed the intercom microphone and sing the national anthem. Then they would recite the pledge of allegiance. When I was chosen it felt like such an honor. Even though I was still too young to really understand the words I could feel the importance of each word right up to “justice for all.” Now I think that justice for all really means the trust and safety that the United States of America brings to its people.


We would like to wish Nora Rivera-Larkin the best of luck moving on to Francis Lewis High School. Congratulations!

​I was born in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York to Lourdes M. Rivera and Michael Larkin. As I grew up, I developed a love for reading and writing and my dream is to become a world-renowned writer. I loved to read to my younger sister, Dahlia as she fell asleep at night. In school my favorite part of the day was “Free Write.” I loved to be able to create new worlds and characters with my mind and my pen.

Now I am in the eighth grade at Louis Armstrong Middle School. Next year I will be going to Francis Lewis High School where I will continue to pursue my love for reading and writing and continue to gain more knowledge. I hope to go to a good college where I would like to learn how to become a veterinarian because I love animals while continuing to work at becoming a well-published writer.

​I could not have been able to win this award without the help and encouragement of my teachers who pushed me to go above and beyond in learning. I could also have not been able to win this award without the support and love of my parents who more often then not had to tell me to stop reading (especially when it was way past my bedtime). And finally I could not have done any of this without the tough love of my sister Dahlia who always tries her best to help me and contributed so much to my desire to become a writer.

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