John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest

The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest is an annual writing competition sponsored by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. It is named in honor of President John F. Kennedy and his 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book "Profiles in Courage," which profiles eight U.S. senators who demonstrated political courage.

Competition Details

Introduction: In Profile in Courage, John F. Kennedy tells the stories of eight U.S. senators who risked their careers to do the right thing for their country. These leaders demonstrated political courage by standing up for the public good despite pressure from interest groups, their political parties, and even their constituents. The JFK Courage Essay Contest asks students to write an original and creative essay demonstrating an understanding of the political courage described in John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage.

Competition Topic: Describes and analyzes an act of political courage by an American elected official who served during or after 1917. Includes an analysis of the obstacles, risks, and consequences associated with the act. Essays may address local, state, national, or international issues. Because originality is a criteria for review, students are strongly encouraged to present officials in their town, state or region, or leaders who have addressed issues of concern to them.

Competition Requirement: Word count is a maximum of 1,000 and a minimum of 700, excluding citations and bibliography; Use at least five different sources, such as government documents, letters, newspaper articles, books, and personal interviews.

Recognition and Awards: First place – $10,000, Second place – $3,000, Five Finalists – $1,000 each, and 8 Semi-finalists – $100 each

Competition Website: LINK

Other Writing Contest you may be interested in: Guide to YoungArts Writing Competition


High school students in the United States and its territories in grade 9-12

Submission deadline

January 13, 2023

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