Demonstrated understanding of political courage
- Demonstrated an understanding of political courage as described by John F. Kennedy in Profiles in Courage
- Identified an act of political courage by a U.S. elected official who served during or after 1917.
- Proved that the elected official risked his or her career to address an issue at the local, state, national, or international level
- Explained why the official's course of action best serves or has served the larger public interest
- Outlined the obstacles, dangers, and pressures the elected official is encountering or has encountered
- Thoughtful, original choice of a U.S. elected official
- Story is not widely known, or a well-known story is portrayed in a unique way
- Essay subject is not on the list of most written about essay subjects.
- Convincing arguments supported with specific examples
- Critical analysis of acts of political courage
- Bibliography of five or more varied sources
- Includes primary source material
- Thoughtfully selected, reliable
Quality of writing
- Style, clarity, flow, vocabulary
- Structure, paragraphing, introduction and conclusion
- Syntax, grammar, spelling, and punctuation
An essay will be disqualified if:
- It is not on the topic.
- The subject is not an elected official.
- The subject is John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, or Edward M. Kennedy.
- The subject is a previous Profile in Courage Award recipient unless the essay describes an act of political courage other than the act for which the award was given.
- The subject is a senator featured in Profiles in Courage.
- The essay focuses on an act of political courage that occurred prior to 1917.
- It does not include a minimum of five sources.
- It is more than 1,000 words or less than 700 words (not including citations and bibliography.)
- It is postmarked or submitted by email after the deadline.
- It is not the student’s original work.
The top ten essays are judged by members of the Profile in Courage Award Committee.