LAPD, in conjuction with the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles held the Third Annual Essay Award Ceremony, at the Los Angeles Police Academy. The contest was open to students in the grades 6th, 7th, and 8th. Over 750 students participated in this year's event.
The LAPD Essay Contest intends to address three areas: allow our youth to contemplate and express their opinions on social issues, highlight the students perception of police officers, and promote serious discussion with their peers, teachers, and parents about quality of life issues.
Assistant Chief George Gascon, along with emcee Mr. Francisco Pinto, Univision KMEX 34 News Anchor, presented the ten winners with City Certificates honoring their achievements. Students were also awarded other prizes.
Students were asked to write in 350 words or less on how as LAPD officers they would help to prevent young people from becoming involved in crime. Short excerpts of the student's ideas are as follows:
Mr. Esteban Aguilera, James A. Fosha Learning Center, wrote about talking to young people about how their lives would be affected if they broke the law. He also suggested providing teenagers with tours of juvenile hall.
Miss Eidah Hilo, George K. Porter Middle School, wrote how as an LAPD officer she would make a documentary film about prisoners' lives and show it at student assemblies.
Mr. Chandler Hudson, Valley Alternative Magnet School, described how he would have prisoners and former gang members share their experiences with teenagers.
Miss Stephanie Orozco, Our Lady of Lourdes School, indicated she would speak and listen to young people who have broken the law to prevent them from repeating their mistakes.
Miss Eliana Portillo, South Gate Middle School, wrote that teenagers who have a good relationship with their parents were less likely to be involved in crime. She would hold seminars where parents could learn to develop open relationships with their teenage children.
Mr. Michael Raynis, Chaminade College Preparatory, wrote that the best way to keep a teenager from becoming a career criminal is by offering them a second chance in the form of counseling and guidance to help them become productive.
Miss Clarissa Rodriguez, Our Lady of the Rosary School, wrote how as an LAPD officer she would serve as a mentor where open communication would be the key to helping teenagers stay away from drugs and violence.
Mr. Patrick McGonagle, Chaminade College Preparatory wrote about the importance of police officers forging alliances with young people to address today's social problems.
Ms. Carissa Lamas,Ramona Convent Secondary School would seek the advise of Chief William Bratton to develop after school programs.
Miss Jennefer Romero, Hollenbeck Middle School, wrote how she would interact with teenagers and stress the importance of parental guidance.
Once again thank you to all of the participating students, not only for your hard work, but your commitment. The future is bright in Los Angeles. A special thank you to the sponsors of the event, Wells Fargo Bank, Safe Moves, California Science Center, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Dodgers, Polaroid Corporation, Feld Entertainment, La Opinion, Univision, Los Angeles Unified School District and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.