The Firefighter Christopher Santora Educational Scholarship Fund Website

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Ryan Gayer:
2012 Winner
FDNY Engine 307

Ryan Gayer

Winning Essay

Occupy Wall Street is a movement involving a group of people who are attempting to change the way the country is run. They feel that they have been wronged and they want it to change. One of the items that the protesters are specifically asking for is more regulation among corporations. They want to change the way money is divided among individuals. These demonstrators also want to force corporations to have some sort of accountability when something goes wrong. The people involved do not want companies to be bailed out by the government, and yet still make record profits and be able to give their executives huge bonuses.

I believe that this movement makes some valid points about what needs to change. The way that corporate America works needs to change. Large portions of corporate profits should not be funneled to a relatively few individuals. I disagree with how CEOs are getting large bonuses, but they are still laying off workers and being bailed out with taxpayer money. It is not right that our taxes continue to go up in order to bail out these large corporations. Many people are not receiving raises in their jobs, as the cost of living continues to increase, but these large companies continue to show record profits and reward their bosses.

As I begin my transition into being a wage earner and voter, I believe that America needs to change and is changing. I feel that if corporate greed continues to stay the way it is that there will be large discrepancies between the classes. Without some sort of change, the middle class will grow smaller and smaller until there is no longer a clear middle class.

I question whether the movement has actually made any change to how America works, but they have definitely made a point. People are more aware now of how others in the country feel and what they want. I disagree with how the protestors went about trying to make change. I feel to occupy private property with a total disregard for others is selfish. Those involved have blocked the park making it unusable to the public. All of the protests are now being broken up. The fact that they can no longer have their tents makes them less of a spectacle. When the tents were set up all over the park it drew a lot of media attention, which helped the cause. Now that the media blitz has ended, there has been a dramatic drop in the importance of the issues that they were trying to bring to people’s attention. The movement is no longer front page news.

I believe other methods could have been used to accomplish the Occupy Wall Street position. There needed to be more organization and clear leadership within the group. One spokesperson for the protests would have had more of an effect. The protesters needed to have an agenda and a set of goals that they could speak about. When the media interviewed people many had different opinions and views on what needed to change. This lack of cohesiveness caused some people to think of the protest as nothing more than an eyesore. If a select few people were in charge of the protest, it would have greatly improved the general public view of the protest. More organization could have made it possible to get support from people that could actually help accomplish the changes that they wanted. The protesters need a united platform. They could have written and handed out pamphlets about their goals. They also could have held news conferences stating their objectives and what they hope to accomplish.

There are multiple protests happening throughout the country, but they don’t necessarily seem to be organized together. These protests seem to be just sharing a name. The Occupy Wall Street movement may not have completely accomplished its goal, but many people are now aware of how others feel, and of the discrepancies of how money and profits are handled in our country. It may not have been the most effective or legal method to approach the matter, but they made a difference. This group of protesters made people talk and think. Almost everyone has heard of Occupy Wall Street and has an opinion about it. This could be considered a success, now awareness has begun. Although there is no immediate change, this group that gathered to reform the way the country works, is not something that will soon be forgotten.


We would like to wish Ryan Gayer the best of luck moving on to Manhattan College. Congratulations!

My name is Ryan Gayer and I would like to thank you for selecting me as a recipient of the Christopher Santora Scholarship. I am 18 years old and currently attend Miller Place High School. I live in Miller Place with my mother, father and my two sisters, Sarah and Emily. My father is a FDNY Lieutenant in Engine 307 in Queens. My family has always been supportive of everything that I do. In the fall I will attend Manhattan College, where I will study engineering.

Throughout my four years in high school I have been involved with a variety of activities. I ran varsity track and played soccer. I was also a member of FBLA. . I have been very involved with the FIRST robotics team throughout high school. This year I was the team captain and was responsible for all of the programming for the robot. This is what first developed my interest in engineering. Through my experience from being a member of the robotics team I have learned many valuable skills that I will be able to use throughout my career and in my general day to day activities. The robotics team became a major part of my life and I have many memories that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. When I’m not participating in school activities I volunteer at a local soup kitchen. My other interests include computers and snowboarding.

I would like to thank everyone involved with the Christopher Santora Scholarship. It is a true honor to be able to receive this generous award.

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