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November 1, 2011 > JFK Profile in Courage national essay contest

JFK Profile in Courage national essay contest

Submitted By Rachel Flor

The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation announced today that the national John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest, with a first place prize totaling $10,000, is now open and accepting submissions from U.S. high school students. The deadline for entries is Saturday, January 7, 2012.

Students and teachers may access the contest's website by visiting the Profile in Courage Essay Contest at

The annual contest invites students from across the nation to write an essay describing an act of political courage by a U.S. elected official who served during or after 1956. The essay contest is sponsored by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and generously supported by John Hancock Financial.

The contest is a companion program of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award(tm), named for President Kennedy's 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Profiles in Courage, which recounts the stories of eight senators who risked their careers by taking principled stands for unpopular positions.

The winner of this competitive annual contest will be awarded a $5,000 cash prize and an additional $5,000 to grow in a John Hancock Freedom 529 College Savings Plan. The student's nominating teacher is awarded a John F. Kennedy Public Service Grant in the amount of $500 to be applied toward school projects involving student leadership and civic engagement. The essay contest winner and nominating teacher will also receive an expense paid round-trip to Boston, where they will be honored by Caroline Kennedy at the annual John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award ceremony in May of 2012. A second place winner receives $1,000 and up to five finalists each receive $500.

"This national essay contest fittingly honors President Kennedy, who believed deeply in the power of the individual and the promise of our nation's young people," said Tom McNaught, Executive Director of the Kennedy Library Foundation. "It is gratifying to see how readily students today can identify and understand acts of political courage and their importance in our democratic society, as well as the role courage plays in today's political climate."

"As we mark the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's presidency and we approach the 150th anniversary of John Hancock Financial in 2012, there is no better time for America's youth to deepen their appreciation of politics and history by participating in the Profile in Courage Essay Contest," said Carol Fulp, Senior Vice President, Corporate Responsibility and Brand Initiatives for John Hancock Financial. "This national high school competition is a reflection of John Hancock's commitment to education, literacy and civic involvement."

Last year, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation received 2,002 essays from high school students in fifty states and American citizens studying in Guam, Canada and France.

For more information about the Kennedy Library Foundation and the Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, visit

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