Jamie Baer, first-place winner of the 2013 Profile in Courage Essay Contest and Al Hunt, Chair of the Profile in Courage Award committee

2013 Winning Essay By Jamie Baer

Jamie Baer, a senior at Homestead High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana, has won the national John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest for High School Students™. Baer’s prize-winning essay tells the story of former New York State Senator Roy McDonald, who, in June 2011, crossed party lines to vote in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage in the state. Baer was honored on May 5, 2013 at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. She will receive a $10,000 award for her first-place essay. Click here to read the winning essay.

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Caroline Kennedy, nominating teacher Timothy Dougherty, and Patrick Reilly, first-place winner of the 2012 Profile in Courage Essay Contest.

2012 Winning Essay by Patrick Reilly

Patrick Reilly, a junior at Archmere Academy in Claymont, Delaware,  won the national John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest for High School Students™. Reilly was honored by Caroline Kennedy during the May 7, 2012, Profile in Courage Award ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston for his prize-winning essay on former Delaware Governor Russell Peterson, who, in 1971, courageously defied corporate interests in an effort to preserve the natural beauty and resources of Delaware’s coastal areas. Reilly received a $10,000 award for his first-place essay. Click here to read the winning essay.

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2011 Profile in Courag Essay Contest winner Kevin Kay with Al Hunt, chair of the Profile in Courage Award Committee.

2011 Winning Essay by Kevin Kay

Kevin Kay, a junior at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland, has won the national John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest for High School Students™. Kay was honored by Caroline Kennedy during the May 23, 2011, Profile in Courage Award ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston for his prize-winning essay on Florida State Representative John Orr, who in 1956 cast the sole dissenting vote against measures to perpetuate school segregation in his state. Kay received a $10,000 award for his first-place essay. Click here to read the winning essay.

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Caroline Kennedy, winner Michael Reed, and former U.S. Congressman Ken Hechler, the subject of the 2010 winning essay. (Photo by Tom Fitzsimmons)

2010 Winning Essay by Michael Reed

Michael Reed, a junior at Chattanooga Center for Creative Arts in Chattanooga, Tennessee,  won the national 2010 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest for High School Students™. Reed was honored by Caroline Kennedy during the May 24, 2010 Profile in Courage Award ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston for his prize-winning essay on U.S. Congressman Ken Hechler from West Virginia, who in 1969 defied powerful interests in his coal-producing state to pass legislation protecting the health and safety of miners. Reed received a $10,000 award for his first place essay.

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Margo Balboni, 2009 Profile In Courage Essay Contest Award Winner

2009 Winning Essay by Margo Balboni

Margo Balboni, a junior at Rockport High School in Rockport, Massachusetts, won the national 2009 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest for High School Students™. Balboni was honored by Caroline Kennedy during the May 18, 2009 Profile in Courage Award ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston for her prize-winning essay describing Baltimore City Councilman Nicholas D’Adamo’s courageous efforts to pass legislation affording certain legal rights to gay constituents.

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2008 Winning Essay by Laura Schapiro

Laura Schapiro, a senior at Indian Hill High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, was honored by Caroline Kennedy and other members of President Kennedy’s family during the May 12, 2008 Profile in Courage Award ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston for her prize-winning entry in the national 2008 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest for High School Students™.  In her winning essay, Courage in the Courtroom: Judge Pamela Alexander, Schapiro described how Pamela Alexander risked her career when she ruled that drug sentencing procedures violated equal protection under the Constitution.

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Al Hunt and Maia Gottlieb

2007 Winning Essay by Maia Gottlieb

Maia Gottlieb, a sophomore at Baltimore City College High School in Baltimore, Maryland, was honored by Caroline Kennedy and other members of President Kennedy’s family during the May 21, 2007 Profile in Courage Award ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston for her prize-winning entry in the national John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest for High School Students™.  In her winning essay, Shirley Chisholm: Challenging the System, Gottlieb described how Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, took great political risks as she challenged the seniority system on Capitol Hill

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May 22, 2006, John Seigenthaler, Ben Loffredo

2006 Winning Essay by Ben Loffredo

Ben Loffredo, a sophomore at the Fieldston School in New York City, was honored by Caroline Kennedy and other members of President Kennedy's family during the May 22, 2006 Profile in Courage Award ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston for his prize-winning entry in the national John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest for High School Students.  In his winning essay, Profile in Courage: Senator Hatfield and the Defeat of the Balanced Budget Amendment, Ben Loffredo describes how former Senator Mark Hatfield defied enormous party pressure when he cast the sole Republican vote against the Balanced Budget Amendment in 1995.

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May 16, 2005, Kevin Zhou and Senator Edward Kennedy

2005 Winning Essay by Kevin Zhou

Kevin Zhou, a 16 year-old junior from Monte Vista High School in Danville, California, and Allie Comet, a 17-year old senior at Stuyvesant High School in New York City, were honored at the May 16, 2005 Profile in Courage Award ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston for their prize-winning entries in the national John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest for High School Students.  Kevin Zhou's winning essay described the political courage of Humboldt County, California District Attorney Paul V. Gallegos who challenged the environmental practices of Pacific Lumber Company, the region's largest and most influential private-employer, committing what many people believed would be political suicide.

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May 16, 2005, John Seigenthaler and Allie Comet

2005 Winning Essay by Allie Comet

Allie Comet, a 17 year-old senior at Stuyvesant High School in New York City, and Kevin Zhou, a 16 year-old junior from Monte Vista High School in Danville, California, were honored at the May 16, 2005 Profile in Courage Award ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston for their prize-winning entries in the national John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest for High School Students.  Allie Comet's winning essay described the political courage displayed by Mayor Ivan Allen, Jr. of Atlanta, Georgia, who was called upon by President Kennedy to testify in support of the groundbreaking civil rights legislation he was urging Congress to enact.

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May 24, 2004, John Seigenthaler, Will Schmidley

2004 Winning Essay by Will Schmidley

Will Schmidley, an 18 year-old senior at Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Avram Sand, a 16 year-old junior at Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy in New York City, were honored during the May 24, 2004, Profile in Courage Award ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston for their prize-winning entries in the national John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest for High School Students.   In his winning essay, Schmidley described the political courage of Illinois Governor George Ryan who imposed the nation's first death-penalty moratorium and altered his personal beliefs once he became aware of flaws in the Illinois justice system.

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May 24, 2004, John Seigenthaler, Avram Sand

2004 Winning Essay by Avram Sand

Avram Sand, a 16 year-old junior at Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy in New York City, and Will Schmidley, an 18 year-old senior at Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, Arkansas, were honored during the May 24, 2004, Profile in Courage Award ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston for their prize-winning entries in the national John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest for High School Students.  In his winning essay, Bernard Confer: Courage Within His Community, Avram Sand described the political courage of the president of the board of education in Teaneck, New Jersey, who in the early 1960s sought to rectify racial imbalance in the town's schools by creating an integrated central sixth-grade.

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May 12, 2003, Caroline Kennedy and Michael Sloyer

2003 Winning Essay by Michael Sloyer

Michael Sloyer, a 17 year-old junior at Roslyn High School in Roslyn Heights, New York, was honored as winner of the 2003 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest for High School Students by Caroline Kennedy at the  Profile in Courage Award Ceremony held at the Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston.  Michael Sloyer's winning essay, One Man with Courage Makes a Majority, describes the political courage of the late Wayne L. Morse, a U.S. senator from Oregon, who voted against the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which authorized President Johnson to engage American troops in Vietnam without a formal congressional declaration of war.

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May 6, 2002, John Seigenthaler and Emily Ullman:

2002 Winning Essay by Emily Ullman

Emily Ullman, a 17 year-old senior at the Academy for the Advancement of Science and Technology in Hackensack, New Jersey, was honored by Caroline Kennedy and other members of President Kennedy's family during a May 6, 2002 ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston for her prize-winning entry in the national John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest for High School Students.  Ullman's winning essay described the integrity and political courage demonstrated by the late George M. Michaels, a New York State Assemblyman, who, on April 9, 1970, changed his original "no" vote to a "yes" vote, thereby ensuring passage of landmark abortion rights legislation.

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Caroline Kennedy, 2001 Profile in Courage Essay Contest co-winner Stephanie Dziczek, and Senator Edward Kennedy.

2001 Winning Essay by Stephanie Dziczek

Stephanie Dziczek, a 17-year old junior at Holmes High School in Covington, Kentucky, and Tyler Boersen, an 18-year old senior at Haslett High School in Haslett, Michigan, were honored by Caroline Kennedy and other members of President Kennedy’s family during a May 21, 2001 ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston for their prize-winning entries in the national John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest for High School Students. Dziczek’s winning essay centered on the integrity and political courage demonstrated by Vermont Governor Howard Dean who risked his political career by supporting the Vermont legislature’s Civil Unions Bill granting full and equal protections to gay and lesbian couples.

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May 6, 2002, John Seigenthaler and Emily Ullman:

2002 Winning Essay by Emily Ullman

Emily Ullman, a 17-year old senior at the Academy for the Advancement of Science and Technology in Hackensack, New Jersey, was honored by Caroline Kennedy and other members of President Kennedy's family during a May 6, 2002 ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston for her prize-winning entry in the national John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest for High School Students.  Ullman's winning essay described the integrity and political courage demonstrated by the late George M. Michaels, a New York State Assemblyman, who, on April 9, 1970, changed his original "no" vote to a "yes" vote, thereby ensuring passage of landmark abortion rights legislation. V1

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Peter Buttigieg, winner of the 2000 Profile in Courage Essay Contest, was elected mayor of South Bend, Indiana in November 2011.

2000 Winning Essay by Peter Buttigieg

Peter Buttigieg, winner of the 2000 Profile in Courage Essay Contest, was elected mayor of South Bend, Indiana in November 2011.  In his his senior year at St. Joseph’s High School in South Bend, Indiana, he was honored by Caroline Kennedy and other members of President Kennedy’s family during a May 22, 2000 ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Library for his prize-winning entry. Buttigieg’s winning essay centered on the integrity and political courage demonstrated by U.S. Congressman Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the nation’s only Independent member of Congress.

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