The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation invites U.S. high school students to describe and analyze an act of political courage by a U.S. elected official who served during or after 1917, the year John F. Kennedy was born.
In Profiles in Courage, John F. Kennedy recounted the stories of eight U.S. senators who risked their careers to do what was right for the nation. These leaders demonstrated political courage by taking a stand for the public good in spite of pressure by interest groups, their political party, or even their constituents. The Profile in Courage Essay Contest challenges students to write an original and creative essay that demonstrates an understanding of political courage as described by John F. Kennedy in Profiles in Courage.
The maximum word count is 1,000 with a minimum of 700, not including citations and bibliography. Use at least five varied sources such as government documents, letters, newspaper articles, books, and/or personal interviews.
All submissions must adhere to contest requirements.
The contest deadline is January 13, 2023.
The contest is open to United States high school students in grades nine through twelve attending public, private, parochial, or home schools; U.S. students under the age of 20 enrolled in a high school correspondence/GED program, and U.S. citizens attending schools overseas.
The first-place winner receives $10,000. Second-place receives $3,000. Five finalists receive $1,000 each. Eight semifinalists receive $100 each. Ten students receive honorable mentions.
Describe and analyze an act of political courage by a U.S. elected official who served during or after 1917, the year John F. Kennedy was born. Include an analysis of the obstacles, risks, and consequences associated with the act. The essay may concern an issue at the local, state, national, or international level.
Since originality is one of the criteria for judging, we strongly encourage students to profile an official in their town, state or region, or a leader who has addressed an issue of great concern to them. We advise students to avoid selecting a common essay subject. To assist in determining common essay subjects, please see the list below.
List of Most Written About Essay Subjects – We advise that participants avoid writing about officials on this list.