Today’s post comes from Esther Kohn, education specialist at the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.
The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation invites U.S. high school students to write an essay on an act of political courage by a U.S. elected official who served during or after 1956. The deadline for submissions to the Profile in Courage Essay Contest is January 5, 2015.
In his 1956 book Profiles in Courage, John F. Kennedy recounted the stories of eight U.S. senators who faced dire consequences for standing up for the public good. Ostracized, rejected by voters, and even physically attacked, the elected officials in Kennedy’s Pulitzer prize-winning book put politics aside to do what they believed was right for the country.
A “Profile in Courage” essay is a carefully researched recounting of a story: the story of how an elected official risked his or her career to take a stand based on the dictates of the public good, rather than the dictates of polls, interest groups, or even constituents. The contest challenges high school students to discover new “profiles in courage,” and to research and write about acts of political courage that occurred after the 1956 publication of Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage.
The Profile in Courage Essay Contest requires young people today to grapple with big ideas: How did Kennedy define political courage? Which public figures have demonstrated political courage? Which local, state, and national elected officials have risked their careers to take a stand for what is right?
Visit the John F. Kennedy Library website for contest information, eligibility and requirements, prize information, judging criteria, curriculum ideas, past winning essays, and more.