Ryan Fredette Honored as Fran Brennan Scholarship Recipient

May 2, 2014

by Len Lathrop

Salem High senior Ryan Fredette takes his considerable classroom skills out into the world to better his community through numerous pursuits.  This community minded-approach made his selection as the 2014 Fran Brennan Memorial scholarship recipient no surprise.

Annually, the Salem Democratic Town Committee awards a $500 scholarship to a graduating high school senior from Salem who will attend a post-secondary institution.  The award honors the late Fran Brennan, a long-time committee member who prioritized education throughout her lifetime.  The annual breakfast recognition was held Saturday morning at the Triumphant Cross Lutheran Church.  Prior to honoring Fredette, the audience was greeted by the Reverend David Yasenka who offered both greetings and a benediction.  Yasenka offered that as Christians finishing the holiest time of the year, faith should compel everyone to use their voice for the betterment of the state and country.

John Murphy, the Salem Democratic Town Committee Chairman, introduced Joseph Plaia, candidate for Rockingham County Attorney, who had greetings for Ryan Fredette and relayed how his history as a military police officer in the United States Marine Corps, then as a lawyer, as a public defender in Rockingham Country and a state police prosecutor in both Stafford and Rockingham counties made him the best candidate for the position.

Greetings and congratulations were read by Patrick Devney for U.S. Representative Ann McLean Kuster.  As the keynote speaker for the morning, William Shaheen spoke on behalf of his wife, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen; he read a citation from the senator and continued to tell the party members assembled not to worry but to work every day to keep the senator in office from now until November.  He told the story of the early years in the Salem Democratic Party and how he and Jeanne could always count on the folks of Salem.

Murphy read a letter for Fredette from NH Senate Minority Leader Sylvia Lawson and from NH Governor Maggie Hassan.

Laurel Redden greeted the 2014 scholarship recipient Ryan P. Fredette and invited him to the dais for the presentation.  Redden explained how the recipient is chosen; academic performance, extracurricular activities, community involvement, financial need, and an essay are all considered.  This year’s topic was on a subject of their choosing (such as education, business development or health care) and to address what they believe the role of government should be in that area.  They were asked to address both potential positive and negative consequences of the involvement of government.

Ryan, the son of George and Katherine Fredette, is a senior at Salem High School with a 3.9 GPA who ranks 27th out of 361 students.  His activities and awards are as follows:  freshman basketball (9), freshman soccer (9), varsity soccer (10, 11, 12), varsity tennis (10, 11, 12), Scholar-Athlete Award (9, 10, 11, 12), National Honor Society (10, 11, 12), Latin Award (11), and Frederick Douglas and Susan B. Anthony Award (11).

While excelling in athletics and academics, Ryan also served his community at the American Legion Boys State (11), People to People Student Ambassador, Greece and Italy (11), St. Matthew Parish (lifetime); annual picnic volunteer (10, 11, 12), Emergency Center Volunteer, Lawrence General Hospital (12), Catheterization Laboratory Shadow, Shadow-A Professional, LGH (12), High School Penguin Plunge for Special Olympics (11, 12), American Diabetes Step Out:  Walk to Stop Diabetes (11, 12), The Color Run:  the Happiest 5K on the Planet (11), Kids Cafe:  Feeding America, Manchester NH (9); and worked for the following local companies:  Canobie Lake Park, games operator; Market Basket, grocery bagger; Pete’s Farm, field worker; and Kohl’s, associate.

Ryan’s Essay follows:

Finding a Balance in Government Control

The main role of government is to secure the safety, equality, and freedom of its citizens.  When it comes to equality and freedom, there is much argument.  How much freedom should citizens have, and when should this freedom be limited?  This question is at the root of debate for the Federalists and Anti-federalists of the 1787 Philadelphia Convention as well as the Democrats and Republicans of the present day.  Government is necessary, but there must be a point when it is too intrusive, too demanding, and too authoritarian.

The government’s role in the health care system, a system in which I will start my adult career, is a controversial subject.  People are born into circumstances such as poor families and bad health while other people are born into rich families with good health.  Going to college, getting a good job, and paying for healthcare can be a gamble that is based on economic status from birth rather than a person’s actions and behaviors throughout life.  For this reason, government needs to help everyone who plays fair and support those who are at a disadvantage from the start.

No one can rely on altruistic people to help the disadvantaged, it is human nature to view life through a cost – benefit analysis.  The natural question to ask oneself is, “What’s in it for me?”  But from this same standpoint, government cannot take that responsibility on by itself.  Making people pool their taxes in order to pay for the whole country and setting up a socialized health care system just like the fire department or police force will not work.  America is a capitalistic country driven by profit, and this profit drives innovation.

I think the best resolution to this problem is to reallocate healthcare costs and to readjust government guidelines.  There are many statistics that prove why the healthcare system is so expensive.  For example, the life expectancy of Americans is increasing, money is being wasted on defensive medicine, and people are leading unhealthy lifestyles.  Government needs to spend more money on preventative medicine.  The government needs to discourage unhealthy lifestyles and provide incentives to those who have a healthy way of living.  Just by improving peoples’ lifestyles through eating less fast food, exercising more often, and avoiding risky behavior, government can dramatically decrease the cost of healthcare.  Also government needs to help doctors who are being sued for medical malpractice litigation.

The practice of medicine is not perfect; therefore, if a doctor performs a surgery or provides a treatment plan, to the best of their ability and to the standards set by government, in an attempt to improve the lives of others, they should not be liable for any problems that do occur.  Government should set guidelines on what the standards of healthcare should be so that people cannot sue for an unavoidable error.

There are potential negative impacts to my suggestions.  Some of which include unnecessary spending on preventative care.  Can we just use the government to change people’s lifestyles and way of thinking?  Without proper guidance, the money could be spent on useless efforts to change people’s lifestyles.  The big negative impact, however, comes with liability of doctors.  Defensive medicine is very expensive, but it is not necessarily a bad thing.  Doctors are more cautious with their patients because the benefit of quick diagnoses is outweighed by the cost of a potential malpractice litigation.  The resolution lies within a balance of government control that America is still working to solve.

Ryan plans to study premed at either Northeastern University or New England College in Maine.