UrbanNationals010813FlagReversed2017 Academic Contest Winners

U13 Winner
Eh HtooScreen Shot 2017-02-01 at 2.30.37 PMCapitol Squash

If I was president of the United States for one day, I would make the world a better place by helping people in war torn countries. This is a personal issue for me because I was born in Thailand but moved to the United States when I was four because of the war. It got so bad in Thailand that I remember not having any food and my house being completely destroyed. My parents made the difficult decision to move to the United States. There were many challenges that we faced when we first moved to the United States. That is why if I was president of the United States, I would make it easier for people from war torn countries to move here.

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The first thing I would do is give free plane tickets to people whose homes have been destroyed by war. I would send soldiers to countries that are dealing with war and have the soldiers help the victims get a plane ticket to the United States. Once they get to the United States, I would have someone welcome them at the airport. I remember when my family and I first arrived, we all felt very nervous and sad about leaving Thailand. I remember a lady greeted my family and I when we first got off the airplane. The lady was so helpful and helped calm some of my nerves, which is why it is so important to me to have someone greeting people coming to the United States. The first thing the greeter would do is bring the people to their new homes, which will have everything they need to live in it. The greeter will not leave until the people feel comfortable in their new home. The greeter will keep checking in to make sure that they are settling into the United States okay.

One challenge my parents still deal with is the language barrier. They still know very little English which makes it hard to live here. I remember when I first moved here it was hard to learn English, but I had to learn fast because I wanted to fit in at school. I was able to learn English in school but my parents did not have the opportunity to learn English. I would make free English classes in every city for people who have just moved to the United States. It is important to me that people take English classes because I don’t want them to feel the way my parents feel now because they don’t know English that well.

Leaving Thailand was the most difficult thing I have ever done. Even though my home was destroyed and I had no food, I still miss it. I don’t want anyone to ever feel the way my family and I felt when we first moved here. Moving here was not easy for my family and me, which is why if I was president of the United States for one day, I would make it easier for people living in war torn countries to move here.

U15 Winner
Marangela James
SquashBusters Boston

You would think because you are the President you’d have so much power.You practically own the world and you hold everything in your hands; who could stop you? But when you look at it is there really a difference between being the President and just being you. When people ask what would you do if you were the President for one day most responses are: I would end hunger or create world peace. But is this really practical in just one day?

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If I was the President for just one day I would do the most responsible thing a teenageer would do: jump on all the beds until I drop. My second order of business would be to make a public announcement that all workers and students should have the day off (I would make sure I was President on a Monday). In most high class places like the White House there are people to make sure that the President is on task; therefore my public announcement would probably be cancelled. It would take my assistants about two hours to undo what I started. That would be the morning.

Lunch time would come and you know what they say: you are only President once so live life to the fullest. In that case I would request to be taken to Paris for lunch, but I know the White House chefs would have something “better” in mind like a grilled cheese (so not better). Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a grilled cheese – it is just not Paris.

After lunch I would get down to some serious business like having some fun. In order to have any type of fun, of course, you need your friends. I would go to each and every one of my friends’ houses in a limo and we would spend the rest of the afternoon at a pool party with the most famous people you could think of, like Michael Jordan, Katy Perry, etc. After the pool party I would enjoy the rest of the evening playing Squash. I would go to a country club with the rest of my family and show them how I play. My family has never seen me play before so it would be something to look forward to; maybe I could even try to teach them how to play and they would understand my love for this sport.

There you have it: every last single detail to my day as the President. When you think about it, why would anyone want to be the President? Being a President is not as glamorous as i have made it seem. Being a President or just a leader is a lot more work and pressure then we would even know. The next time you complain about the problems that the government has, just remember that we are all humans; some humans just have a lot more responsibility than others,but in the end we are all just humans.

U17 Winner
Madison Ochoa
Access Youth Academy

As a citizen of the United States and a lover of our nation, it is evident that there are countless problems overlooked that if continue, may contribute to the demise of this country’s democracy once and for all. Realistically, there is not much a President can truly accomplish in one single day. Every idea he or she proposes must go through a series of tedious checks until it is approved by Congress. However, in a world of infinite possibilities, I would make several drastic changes as President. Even though I am not the required age of thirty-five, I have enough first hand experience of the suffering people face in our nation. While America is known as the land of opportunity and freedom, there are many limitations society deals with that could be resolved effectively. The issues I’ll be seeking to improve revolve around education, the environment, and social injustices. It is important to acknowledge that for any meaningful change to occur, both open mindedness and sacrifice are vital to the success of these proposals.

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As President, I would like to propose an initiative for free college if students are in a difficult position.There are kids who are fortunate enough to go to private schools and not have to worry about any payments of education. However, so many under privileged students dream of a prosperous future, but when the thought of college debt looms over them, they run in fear.

This is a struggle that divides our youth across the country. The school system has many disparities that must be resolved and it is no longer based on intellectual ability but rather how deep your pockets are filled with money. With this I propose a change in the process of admitting students to college. Those who are from low income or disadvantaged backgrounds should not have to pay the same price as those who can easily afford it. I believe it is too expensive for many students to pay, and although these kids may be more intelligent and able, they’re not willing to leave their family in debt as the price for a higher education. College should be free, or at least at a much more reduced cost than it currently is, for thriving students who are minorities or disadvantaged in some way. While this might be met with opposition, it can only result in a more educated, cultured, and well-rounded generation of youth ready to make meaningful changes to benefit the future of our beloved country.

My second task in the twenty-four hours I have as President to improve the lives of every American is to focus on the environment. Our American soil is what makes this country what it is today. Our diversity of lakes, glaciers, waterfalls, forests, deserts, and beaches conjoin to create the beautiful land we call our country and benefit from. Since the first settlement of the Americas, exploitation of the environment has been a top priority. Trees lose their lives, mammals get strangled by six pack rings, pollution suffocates animals, and ocean acidification runs rampant.

These are not unique or peculiar events, this is what we have done to our environment on an everyday scale. Some citizens choose not to care about how animals suffer, or maybe hear “global warming” and get annoyed because they’ve heard about it a thousand times. They forget to realize that these complications affect them as well. It is important to remember that while none of our wrongdoings can be reversed, they can be treated. I propose that we should invest in renewable energy methods, work on forest conservation, and make food regulations stricter in order to limit access to inorganic, non-biodegradable food and packaging. Our duty as inhabitants of Earth is to nurture nature, because we don’t get a second chance and we must save the one we have while we can.

My last task will be to work on building up the morale of this country. Recently, there has been a spike of overall discontent in society. The social injustices that plague our nation have taken a toll on the minds of all our people. Because of the constant threat of attacks and increased global terrorism, people are rightfully on edge and demanding solutions. People wrongfully use their fear of terrorism as a scapegoat to discriminate against Muslims and people of color. Too many people of color have died solely because of their appearance. Even the citizens who promised to protect us have been the ones to pull the trigger. We may have come a long way from segregation and slavery, but there is still a long way to go. It is evident that there is a sharp divide in our nation, one which if continues may be disastrous. I believe as President I must send a message that color of skin or lack of wealth does not define who you are. We are all Americans and as Americans we equally deserve respect and love. If we spent more time together, discussing our issues instead of resorting to violence, we may actually accomplish unity. We desperately need to join and realize that we share more similarities than differences as human beings. Whether this be dealt with through more community discussions, education of these issues to all ages, and more inclusive events, we must be diligent. Let us remember that we are all petals on a flower. Some may be slightly wilted, some may thrive in the sun, some may be discolored, and some may be the perfect shade. Yet our petals must stand strong in the winter and hold each other up until spring arrives.

The weight the President carries on their shoulders each passing day is unimaginable. The job must still be done and hard decisions must be made. If I were President for even a single day, every second would be put forth to improve this country and raise it to a higher caliber. With my efforts in education, the protection of the environment, and promotion of a sense of unity, I would hope to set a precedent for all future leaders and followers alike.

U19 Winner
Denise Bonilla©jharris09451wb (1)Squash Haven

Today, there is much controversy and many complications associated with immigration. Now that Donald Trump has been elected, there will surely be more restrictions on immigration policy and amnesty; just the thought of that has already affected many undocumented people and also those who support them. If I were president for a day, I would make becoming a citizen easier and more accessible to the undocumented community that truly desires to make a life here. I would ensure that every state would have at least one Sanctuary City. I’d also create a program in each state that would be dedicated to helping the undocumented find work or educational opportunities so they could support themselves and their families.

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Some would argue that aiding immigrants doesn’t make sense because it means pardoning someone for a crime which they should be punished for. However, it’s not the worst among other crimes, and most people that come here are from third world countries and are just looking for more stable lives. Some come with children so that they may grow up with more opportunities for jobs and education, another reason why undocumented immigrants are disliked. However, it’s unfair to say that they are taking all of the jobs in the U.S. when some Americans don’t work and study as much as they do to be able to attain those jobs or careers.

My initial plan for change would be for each state in the U.S. to have a Sanctuary City that functions to protect undocumented immigrants that have just arrived in the country. There are currently only thirty-two Sanctuary Cities in 21 states, New Haven being one of them. Therefore, my ultimate goal would be for all 50 states to have at least one Sanctuary City where the undocumented can go and not be pursued. I would unify the states to go forward with initiating this policy by promising economic growth and prosperity from the influx of people coming in looking for work and thus becoming contributing taxpayers.

Another aspiration I would have if I were President is that in addition to having Sanctuary Cities, I would propose that every state have a program that aids undocumented individuals or families in finding work, education for themselves or their children, and a place to live. There’s no reason that America should not help alleviate the struggle of the undocumented people who have a strong desire to be here and have the ambition to do whatever necessary to stay here. Also, by helping people start their lives here, as part of my promise, the U.S. will ultimately get money back in return from taxes, which, by paying them if you are undocumented, sends a message to the country that you are committed to being here by completing the duties of a citizen.

To reiterate, I would be a president dedicated to changing the immigration policy in the United States. Many people come here in search of a greater way of life, and the U.S. should be far more involved in helping those people to achieve the lives and level of success that they may have been unable to in their place of origin. It’s simply unfair to persecute someone who is only trying to better themselves, or the lives of their loved ones, especially when there are much larger issues and many more dangerous people in our country.