JFK Profile in Courage Essay Contest

The JFK Profile in Courage Essay Contest is a national competition for high school students that is sponsored by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and John Hancock Financial.  The author of the winning entry receives $10,000!  The deadline to enter is Saturday, January 7, 2012.  Read the info below and visit the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum website for writing tips, examples & contest guidelines.

President John F. Kennedy respected and admired acts of political courage. His book, Profiles in Courage, published in 1956, recounts the stories of eight U.S. Senators who risked their careers by taking principled stands for unpopular positions. The Profile in Courage Award, presented each May by the Kennedy Library Foundation, honors elected officials who have demonstrated exceptional political courage.

The Profile in Courage Essay Contest invites United States high school students to consider the concept of political courage by writing an essay on a U.S. elected official who has chosen to do what is right, rather than what is expedient. A “Profile in Courage” essay is a carefully researched recounting of a story: the story of how an elected official risked his or her career to take a stand based on the dictates of conscience, rather than the dictates of polls, interest groups or even constituents. The contest challenges high school students to discover new profiles in courage, and to therefore research and write about acts of political courage that occurred after the publication of Kennedy's Profiles in Courage in 1956.

The winner of the competitive annual contest is awarded a $10,000 prize and is invited to accept the award at the Profile in Courage Award ceremony hosted each May by Caroline Kennedy at the Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. The student’s nominating teacher receives a John F. Kennedy Public Service Grant in the amount of $500 and is also invited to attend the Profile in Courage Award ceremony.  A second place winner receives $1,000 and up to five finalists each receive $500. All finalists receive a hardcover copy of Profiles in Courage.