Baltimore High School Student Takes Top Honors in National John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19, 2007
MEDIA CONTACT: Brent Carney (617) 514-1662
Read the 2007 Winning Essay by Maia Gottlieb. (pdf)
Boston, MA- Maia Gottlieb, a sophomore at Baltimore City College High School, will be 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™.
The annual Profile in Courage Essay Contest invites students from across the nation to write an essay about a political issue at the local, state or national level and an elected official in the United States who is acting or acted courageously to address that issue. The contest is a companion program of the Profile in Courage Award™, named for President Kennedy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Profiles in Courage, which recounts the stories of eight U.S. Senators who risked their careers, incurring the wrath of constituents or powerful interest groups, by taking principled stands for unpopular positions. The essay contest is sponsored by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and generously supported by Fidelity Investments.
Maia Gottlieb will receive a $3,000 award for her first place essay. Gottlieb and her family will be the guests of the Kennedy family and the Kennedy Library Foundation at the May 21 Profile in Courage Award ceremony in Boston, where Gottlieb will share the stage with this year’s Profile in Courage Award recipients, Mayor Bill White of Houston, Texas and Doris Voitier, Superintendent of Schools for St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. Voitier and White will be honored for the extraordinary risks they took to meet the needs of communities affected by Hurricane Katrina.
This year 1,634 students submitted essays from across the nation, including forty-eight states and American citizens studying in Great Britain, Guam, and Japan.
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. Undaunted by long-standing Congressional traditions and prerogatives, she formally objected to her assignment to the Agriculture Committee and a subcommittee on rural development and forestry. Gottlieb explained that as one of only nine black representatives in Congress, Chisholm felt it was essential that she serve on a committee relevant to her constituents and her background. Eventually Chisholm was placed on the Veteran’s Affairs Committee. Gottlieb wrote, “Risking the respect of her colleagues and her future in Congress, Shirley Chisholm had challenged the seniority system and won.”
“Congratulations to Maia Gottlieb,” said John Shattuck, CEO of the Kennedy Library Foundation. “Her award-winning essay was selected from more than 1600 submissions. The essay contest honors President Kennedy who believed deeply in the power of the individual and the promise of our nation’s young people to make a difference in our world. It is gratifying to see how readily students today can identify and understand acts of political courage and their importance in our democratic society.”
"Fidelity congratulates Maia Gottlieb and all of the participants," said Doug Reed, Senior Vice President of Regional Management and Public Affairs for Fidelity Investments. "Fidelity's commitment to civic responsibility is a long, proud tradition. We are pleased to support this contest to encourage student leadership and civic engagement."
Maia Gottlieb is the daughter Julie and Stephen Gottlieb and has two older brothers, Joshua and Eric. Maia’s love of history and politics brought the contest to her attention. She is a member of the award-winning Mock Trial team at Baltimore City College High School. Maia also participates in the Model U.N. program, and the Student Government Association, and the soccer and badminton teams.
Gottlieb nominating teacher, Phillip Stephenson of Baltimore City College High School, will receive a John F. Kennedy Public Service Grant in the amount of $500 to be used for school projects that encourage student leadership and civic engagement.
Benjamin Mishkin, a sophomore at the Horace Mann School in Riverdale, New York who submitted an essay on former U.S. Senator Albert Gore, Sr. was selected as the second place winner in this year’s contest. Mishkin will receive a $1000 prize for this recognition. Five students were also recognized as finalists in the competition. Those students are: Lina Arikat, a senior at Burlingame High School in Burlingame, California and John Tannous, a junior at Westlake High School in Westlake, Ohio, who both wrote essays about former Cleveland mayor and current U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich; Jacob Cedarbaum, a junior at Evanston Township High School in Evanston, Illinois who wrote his essay about former U.S. Senator Albert Gore, Sr.; Jacob Finkel, a junior who is home schooled in Wyncote, Pennsylvania who wrote about former U.S. Senator Harris Wofford; and Brian Sung, a junior at the Academy for the Advancement of Science and Technology in Hackensack, New Jersey who wrote his essay about former U.S. House Speaker Tom Foley. Each finalist will receive a $500 prize.
Three students received honorable mention: Charlotte Cottier, a junior at Evanston Township High School in Evanston, Illinois for her essay on former U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone; Melanie Fried, a junior at Paul D. Schreiber High School in Port Washington, New York, for her essay on New Paltz mayor Jason West; and Brad Zehr, a senior at Homestead High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana, for his essay on former U.S. Senator James Jeffords.
The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award is presented annually to public servants who have made courageous decisions of conscience without regard for the personal or professional consequences. The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation created the Profile in Courage Award in 1989 to honor President Kennedy’s commitment and contribution to public service. It is presented in May in celebration of President Kennedy’s May 29th birthday. Described by one recipient as the Nobel in Government, the Profile in Courage Award is represented by a sterling-silver lantern symbolizing a beacon of hope. The lantern was designed by Edwin Schlossberg and crafted by Tiffany & Co.
The winning essay by Gottlieb was chosen by a distinguished bipartisan committee of national, political, and community leaders. Al Hunt, Washington managing editor of Bloomberg News, chairs the 13-member Profile in Courage Award Committee. Committee members are Michael Beschloss, author and presidential historian; David Burke, former president of CBS News; U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi); Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund; Antonia Hernandez, president and chief executive officer of the California Community Foundation; Elaine Jones, former director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund; Caroline Kennedy, president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation; U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Massachusetts); Paul G. Kirk, Jr., chairman of the board of directors of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation; John Seigenthaler, founder of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University; U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine); and Patricia M. Wald, former judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. John Shattuck, chief executive officer of the Kennedy Library Foundation, staffs the Committee. Mr. Shattuck is a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State and a former U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic.
Fidelity first began supporting the national essay contest in 2001. Students and teachers who participate in the Profile in Courage Essay Contest also benefit from two other generous in-kind donations. HarperCollins Publishers has donated copies of Profiles in Courage, President Kennedy’s Pulitzer-Prize winning book, and Hyperion Books has donated copies of Caroline Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage for Our Time, a book of 13 narrative essays exploring the political courage of the Profile in Courage Award recipients since its establishment in 1989. Copies of the two books have been distributed to teachers and schools to enrich classroom teaching and curriculum projects, as well as to encourage students to enter the Profile in Courage Essay Contest.
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is a presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration and supported, in part, by the Kennedy Library Foundation, a non-profit organization. The Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum and the Kennedy Library Foundation seek to promote, through educational and community programs, a greater appreciation and understanding of American politics, history, and culture, the process of governing and the importance of public service.