The Firefighter Christopher Santora Educational Scholarship Fund Website

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Vincent–Joseph Cali:
2011 Winner
Bayside High School

Vincent–Joseph Cali

Winning Essay

A promise of “change” is an extremely vague and ambiguous statement. Without being specific, President Obama was able to captivate the hearts and minds of Americans with this idea that he would bring America out of this world of chaos led by President Bush and into a world filled with sunny skies and butterflies. However, now that President Obama has implemented his “change” and sunny skies have yet to come, Americans are now questioning the effects of his “changes”.  Changes surrounding the economy, federal immigration reform, airport security and the Arizona immigration law have not benefited our country and its citizens and the consequences of these “changes” will have lasting effects on our country’s future.

Obama’s changes to the economy have done remarkable things; on October 18, 2010, the national debt had increased by more than $3 trillion since President Obama took office. The national debt stood around $10 trillion the day Mr. Obama was inaugurated, and on October 18, it was over $13trillion. While President Bush increased the debt by $4.9 trillion during his two terms, President Obama has personally matched that in less than one.

In an attempt to jumpstart the economy, President Obama pushed for $787 Billion Stimulus Package to help cure our country. However the economy continued to decline with jobless rates rising as quickly as the deficit numbers. Plans for more stimulus packages have been considered by many because they feel that the enormous spending “wasn’t enough” like Laura Tyson, a member of President Obama's Economic Advisory Panel. But thanks to the stimulus, many positive changes occurred like $8 billion to build a levitating train from Las Vegas to Disneyland, which we all know is more important than helping the economy. However, by the time Obama leaves office, our nation’s debt would rise even higher to nearly $16.5 trillion in 2012.

Just as Obama’s “changes” for the economy have ended up as a flop, so have his “changes” to immigration. During the presidential campaign, Obama said he would put comprehensive immigration reform on the table during his first year in office , however, Obama never lived up to his promised “change”, what a surprise, when he left immigration reform out of his 100 days of office speech.

On the other hand, President Obama did make one attempt to change immigration reform in 2010 and tried to pass the DREAM act, which was a “dream” in its self.  Strong republican opposition to the bill prevented it from passing. “My biggest disappointment was this DREAM act vote” said President Obama, which is no surprise because that was one of his few attempts of “change” towards immigration. Under the DREAM act, undocumented and illegal immigrants who graduate from US High Schools, and of “good moral character,” arrived in the U.S. illegally as minors, and have been in the country illegally for at least five years prior to the bill's enactment could receive residency if they complete two years in the military or two years at a four year college. The bill would allow a more simple way for illegal immigrants to earn residency while simultaneously giving them in-state tuition benefits that could be given to legal residents competing for them.

Airport security has shown many detrimental flaws within the short time Obama has been President. Passing off airport security for more ludicrous spending that has no affect on the debt seems appealing to President Obama. Gaps within airlines seem to be on the rise, and one of these gaps could have ended in a catastrophe. Nigerian man, Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, tried to detonate explosives hidden in his underwear on December 25, 2009. While his attack failed, he still boarded the plane with dangerous explosives with intent to kill. Unfortunately, all the new “change” towards airport security came after this shameful incident which many feel is unacceptable.

However, President Obama’s new changes made to enhance airport security include “great” ways to catch terrorists like some airports enforcing that all passengers face fullbody scanners that produce virtually naked images of them which many people fell is inappropriate. If people find this offensive they can submit to a thorough pat down of your body, including genital areas and breasts, by security officers of the same sex as you, which many feel is just as inappropriate.

            While President Obama feels these methods are successful, the truth lies in an easier method for screening people called psychological profiling. With this method enforced, security officers at major airports would use casual conversations, sifting out possible terrorists. They observe suspicious behaviors in travelers like “nervousness, wearing a big coat in the summer or reluctant eye contact with law enforcement” according to TSA officials. However, Obama opposes profiling Muslims, a factor in this method, even though “100% of all the terrorist attacks against the United States last year were carried out by Muslim Jihadists” said Steven Emerson founder and director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

            Although President Obama hasn’t made any headway in immigration “change” he has stopped states like Arizona from their own imposed change because Obama believes his plans are extremely effective. Under President Obama, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Arizona for their attempt to make up for where he hasn’t provided. "As a direct result of failed and inconsistent federal enforcement, Arizona is under attack from violent Mexican drug and immigrant smuggling cartels. As a result, Arizona faces an inflicting battle in federal court by President Obama and his Department of Justice," claims Jan Brewer, a Republican, said.


The lawsuit was for an immigration law revolved around Arizona state and local police and how they investigated the immigration status of anyone they reasonably suspect as an illegal immigrant. This method includes profiling, which we know Obama doesn’t support. The law was pushed in hopes of dealing with the 10 million illegal immigrants in Arizona, and Brewer declared these are "LEGITIMATE CONCERNS". While The Justice Department acknowledged that Arizona legislators had "legitimate concerns", the lawsuit is done on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. The Justice Department stated that the U.S. Constitution gave the federal government “sole authority over immigration matters.” which is incredibly ironic because the federal government continues to dodge the idea of immigration reform, which is their responsibility, leaving some states with no other options.


Obama’s changes to economy, federal immigration reform, airport security and the Arizona immigration law have done little to help change the country in a positive way. While his term is long from over, we can only hope that he tries to improve where he has messed up, which happens to be a lot, and keep our country’s priorities on the top of his list for “positive” change.



My name is Vincent-Joseph Cali and I am a senior at Bayside High School. I am 17 years old and I come from an Italian background rich in culture that I am incredibly proud of because it has inspired me in many ways. As a child, my dreams had gone from working as a chef that could rival my Nonna’s delicious Italian cooking to an artist with masterpieces that could rival Michelangelo. However, now that I have grown, I have realized that I truthfully don’t know what profession I want to pursue, but I do know I want to enjoy what I become.

Growing up as a New Yorker, I was able to enjoy many sports like baseball and football and see some of my favorite teams play. I was a Yankee fan as a child and plan to stay that way for my entire life. Even though I never met the team, I always felt close to them especially during their games where I would always cheer them on with all my heart in front of the TV screen yelling at it like they could hear me. Another dream of mine was to become a major league baseball player and play for the Yankees so my parents put me in a local little league where I learned all I could about the sport. While the first couple of years were full of me trying my best, I slowly realized that baseball was not my forte. Even though I gave up on my baseball profession, I never stopped playing sports with my friends. Football, baseball and sports in general have always inspired me to do my best in anything even if I wasn’t that good at it which is something I am extremely proud of.

While I may not know what kind of profession I want to pursue, I want to use my time in college to help me make up my mind. I plan to attend Queens College because of its diverse student body and vast assortment of majors, which I hope will give me insight in what I want to do. While my future still remains uncertain, I thank the Christopher Santora Scholarship Fund for giving me an incredible chance to succeed in my future. I can study and accomplish my dreams without having a large financial burden, and in these economic times is greatly appreciated by me and my entire family.

Thanks to the Santora family I have been given this wonderful opportunity which I hope to use to better myself and everyone around me. While I am not Christopher, I want to honor his sacrifice by living everyday bravely. As an American hero, Christopher did everything he could to help people in need no matter the cost and that’s something he continues to do even today. Thank you for this amazing opportunity Mr. and Mrs. Santora, Christopher, and your entire family, I hope I can live my life like all of you.


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