+JFK Profile in Courage Essay Contest

2020 Profile in Corage Essay Contest

Essay Topic:
Wite an original and creative essay that demonstrates an understanding of political courage as described by John F. Kennedy in Profiles in Courage.
  • Describe and analyze an act of political courage by a US elected official who served during or after 1917, the year of JFK's birth.  The essay may focus on an issue at the local, state, national or international level.
  • Use at least five varied, reliable sources such as books, articles and personal interviews.  Participants are encouraged to use primary source material such as letters, speeches, and government documents.


  • Subject must be a US elected official who served during or after 1917.  Students are encouraged to choose an original subject and tell a story that has npt been told.
  • Essays must include a bibliography of at least five varied, reliable sources.
  • John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Edward M. Kennedy are not eligible subjects for essays.


  • First place: $10,000
  • Second place: $3,000
  • Five finalists: $1,000 each
  • Eight semi finalists: $100 each
  • Ten honorable mentions
  • The nominating teacher of the first place wonner will recieve the John F. Kennedy Public Service grant of $500 to encourage student leadership and civic engagement.


  • United States high school students in grades nine through twelve attending public, private, parochial, or home schools are eligible.
  • US Students under the age of twenty enrolled in a high school correspondence/GED program in any of the fifty states, or the US territories; and US citizens attending schools overseas are eligible.
  • Past winners and finalists are not eligible to participate.
  • Employees of John Hnacock and members of their familis are not eligible.

Contest Registration and Submission:

All students must register online.  Essays can be submitted online (preferred) or via regular mail by the postmark date of: January 17, 2020.

For complete guidelines, viit the Profile in Courage Essay Contest at JFKLibrary.org/essaycontest ​and access:

  • Connections to Common Core State Standards
  • Related Nation Standards in Social Studies and English Language Arts
  • Contest Requirements
  • Passt winning essays
  • Curriculum materials
  • Criteria for judging
  • Video for classroom use

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