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John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Essay Contest

Special to The Informer | 10/25/2011, 6:10 p.m.

BOSTON, MASS. -- The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation has announced the national John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Essay Contest, which offers a first place prize totaling $10,000. The contest is now open and accepting submissions from U.S. high school students, and the deadline for entries is Sat., Jan.7, 2012.

The 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.

"This national essay contest fittingly honors President [John] 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."

The contest is a companion program of the John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award, 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 will be awarded a John F. Kennedy Public Service Grant for $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 Profiles in Courage Award ceremony to be held in May 2012.

A second place winner receives $1,000, and up to five finalists each receive $500.

"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 Profiles 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 from 50 states and American citizens studying in Guam, Canada and France.

The Library Foundation is a private, non-profit organization that provides financial support, staffing, and creative resources for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, a presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. The Library Foundation and the Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum 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.

Students and teachers may access the contest's website by visiting the Profiles in Courage Essay Contest at www.jfklibrary.org.