2018 YAA Awards

2018 YAA Awards

FIRST PRIZE: $800 , sponsored by the Simonetti Trust was awarded to

Rory Rautter, New Fairfield High School

SECOND PRIZE$500,  sponsored by the Cole Family Scholarship was awarded to

Drew Newcomb, Fairfield College Preparatory School

THIRD PRIZE$200, sponsored by COL Serge Gabriel, USA (Ret) and LT Michael Riffice, USN was awarded to

Drew Durkin, Green Farms Academy

Awardee scholarships of $100 each were sponsored by the WCMOA membership.

2018 YAA Winning Essays

Greg Jazwinski – Saint Joseph High School, Trumbull

A private American organization should implement a policy mandating their employees to stand during the anthem. By doing so, the employee, (whether it is a U.S. citizen or alien), will have the opportunity to reflect on how this country affords so many rights and freedoms to employees that rarely exist in other countries. This moment of reflection allows the employee to be grateful for the company that offers the employment, while realizing the local, state, and federal governments allow companies to prosper here in an open market economy in a way that is much more secure and stable than economies in other countries.
Employees who have never worked in other countries take it for granted that the infrastructure existing in this country is more effective and stable than anywhere else. The commutes to work, the public utilities that provide water, sewer, and electricity services to offices, and the abundance of stores in every community allow a worker to have a more satisfying place of employment than anywhere else. The balance of having just enough government to keep our country safe and secure, while not being so intrusive to an employer’s ability to provide a service to customers and employment of others, is what makes this country great. If an employee chooses to kneel or turn away during the anthem, perhaps the employer can have the employee watch videos of an average day for employees attempting to work in North Korea, Syria, or Afghanistan.


Kelan Smith –  Shelton High School

There are many good reasons why the answer to this question should be yes but it would be contrary to what the United States of America stands for to force people to stand during the anthem. I suspect the reason why the language of United States Code 36 U.S.C Section 301 is suggestive is to protect the right of free speech which is one of the pillars of our constitution. While private American organizations are free to set the conditions of employment for their employees they would be wise to take guidance from the fathers of the constitution and the statute, by protecting rights, not limiting them. Our flag and anthem are symbolic of all the freedoms set forth in, and protected by the constitution, including the right to express an opinion or take an action that is insulting to most people in the United States, such as kneeling during the national anthem. While the motivation behind the kneeling protest may be based on drawing attention to societal issues that need it, insulting the strongly held beliefs and disrespecting the sacrifices of those who have fought for and died for our freedom strikes me as misguided. Having the privilege of a position of influence, as athletes do, there are more constructive ways to address these issues such as working with the NFL to bring change in a respectful manner that would be broadly receptive. As for me, I will always stand for my anthem and salute my flag.


Anika Veeraraghav – Masuk High School, Monroe

Native Americans, 1492. African Americans, 1650. Chinese Americans, 1882. German Americans, 1917. Japanese Americans, 1942.
All of these races and ethnicities have had to fight for equality.
When National Football League (NFL) player Colin Kaepernick first refused to stand during the National Anthem, people were aghast; many claimed that this was disrespectful to the flag and the country.
Kaepernick’s goal was never to disrespect the flag, or the country; it was to merely draw attention to a prevalent problem: racism.
What people think is disparaging the flag should not come between any race or ethnicity and their right to equality.
Each morning, my classmates and I pledge our allegiance to the flag. Pledging our allegiance means that we believe in “one nation,” but how could we possibly have “one nation,” if everyone in the country is not equally protected?
It is not our job to stand silently, afraid to defy tradition; it is our job to right the wrongs of racism and make this country the best place that it can possibly be. Standing by a suggestion that was never written into the flag code will not better this nation; it is our actions that will.
The NFL should not silence its players, but it should advocate for them instead. We, as citizens, should all strive to create change, and players like Kaepernick have every right to protest. They do not want to harm or disrespect the U.S.; they only want to better the lives of all U.S. citizens.



Jack Murphy – Fairfield Warde High School

The Star Spangled Banner, the national anthem of the United States, commands a presence unlike any other American musical piece. The fact that there is a US code stating that all present should stand at attention affirms that significance. The Star Spangled Banner sparks a multitude of responses: instilling pride, fostering belonging, igniting patriotism and more. It prompts an 80-year old to salute and shed a tear and an 8-year old to raise an arm and wave a flag with vigor. Its impact is powerful. There is no doubt that it stirs our emotions, awakens our senses and sparks our passions. It is an invaluable tool to heighten an experience… the National Football League knows this well…as do its players.
The NFL is fortunate to have the opportunity to play the national anthem of the United States “in their house” and benefit from it. The NFL should act with responsibility and reverence and demand the same of their players by implementing a policy mandating their employees stand during its rendition. Opposing this policy and using the experience as a platform to gain attention to promote personal agendas, albeit important ones, is inappropriate. Players should certainly use their influence to correct injustices however when at work, in uniform and representing the team, players should simply play the game for which they are being paid.I share the words my parents clearly, unemotionally and occasionally used with me: As long as you live under my roof, you will live by my rules.”


Powered by 123ehost.com