The Firefighter Christopher Santora Educational Scholarship Fund Website

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Wilson Lai:
2007 Winner
I.S. 227

Wilson Lai

Winning Essay

Elected officials, such as mayors, should not use special interest groups, such as lobbyists, to make decisions. Although lobbyists do inform elected officials of the wants and needs of the people who they represent, the people that are not represented by these lobbyists are just left out to vote for themselves. This gives too much power to special interest groups and too little power to the individual public. This gives a commanding and distinct advantage to the special interest groups to win over an elected official because individual voters are just outnumbered.

Another, more efficient way for elected officials to obtain their information is by a use of a group of twelve political analysts that obtains information and gives it to the higher ranking elected official, much like a cabinet. These political analysts would be selected by the elected official, and would stay until the term of the elected official ends. Because these analysts would not be elected by the public, there is no possibility that lobbyists or special interest groups can affect their decisions. Also, in order for a major law or rule to be passed by the elected official, all twelve of these analysts would have to agree with the elected official, and also the other way around. This would be like a system of checks and balances, so neither the elected official nor the analysts could take total control over the rules and regulations.

Another suggestion I would give to change the system is for the elected official not to listen to only the biggest interest group but also to the many individual voters by using the internet. The main problem with lobbyist and special interest groups is that they “bribe” elected official with their many votes. If the elected official also listened to the individual public that go against the interest groups and took their opinions into account, then everyone would get their own fair opinion.

Although special interest groups and lobbyists are a good way to present information to elected officials, there could be better ways. Although it is true that as an elected official you cannot make everyone happy, at least take into account the voters that are not in special interest groups and their opinions.


We would like to wish Wilson Lai the best of luck moving on to Stuyvesant High School. Congratulations!

My name is Wilson Lai. I am a thirteen year old student currently attending Louis Armstrong Middle School in Queens. Next year I will be attending Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan. I also was accepted into Townsend Harris High school, but choose Stuyvesant because I think I am a more math–oriented person.

I look forward to a new school and also a new environment, even though my years at Louis Armstrong were also very good to me. I made many new good friends and have come to enjoy myself at Louis Armstrong. My favorite subjects in school are Science, English, and Math, although I have to confess that Physical Education is also one of my favorites. I do however already speak English, Cantonese, and can listen to Vietnamese, although I cannot speak it yet.

My favorite sports are Football, Basketball, Tennis, and Baseball, but I am the best at Tennis. When I have time, I hope to join a tournament to get a ranking. I also have a brother who is going to be attending Cornell University next year so I finally have a room to myself. My favorite color is scarlet because it is a color that is slightly brighter than red. My favorite fruit would have to be watermelon because it is very juicy and sometimes can be very sweet. The food I find most delicious is either beef patties or French fries, but I cannot decide which. In my spare time, I like to play games, read books, and watch television. During my vacations I also like to travel with my family. So far internationally, I have been to Vietnam, Hong Kong, Canada, Bermuda, and the Dominican Republic. My favorite trip was on a Carnival cruise to Bermuda because there were many enjoyable and interesting things to do on the ship, such as swimming, shows, and scuba diving. The food was also delicious and the buffets were open 24 hours a day. When I grow up I hope to work in the field of science or business because those are the two topics that interest me. I would also like to thank the Santora’s for this chance and for this experience. I also acknowledge that Christopher Santora gave up his teaching career for a job as a firefighter because he wanted the privilege to serve his city, so for that I think that he is a true hero.

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