Profile in Courage Essay Contest

Thank you to all students and teachers who participated in the 2020 Profile in Courage Essay Contest. Winners, finalists, semifinalists, and honorable mentions have been notified. Certificates of Participation have been mailed to all participating students. Congratulations to Noah Durham of Wilmington, North Carolina, winner of the 2020 Profile in Courage Essay Contest. Read the winning essay and see the contest results.

Getting Started

The 2021 Profile in Courage Essay Contest opens for submissions on September 1, 2020. The contest deadline is January 15, 2021.

Contest Topic and Information

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.

Eligibility and Requirements

The contest is open to United States high school students in grades nine through twelve attending public, private, parochial, or home schools; US students under the age of twenty enrolled in a high school correspondence/GED program; and US citizens attending schools overseas.

Recognition and Awards

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 mention.

Criteria for Judging

Submissions are evaluated on content (demonstrated understanding of political courage, originality, supporting evidence, source material) and presentation (quality of writing, organization, conventions.) Includes information about disqualifications.

Prepare Your Essay

Resources to help you prepare an excellent essay: Elements of a Strong Essay, Helpful Tips for Writing, Guidelines for Citations and Bibliography, and Criteria for Judging.