John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest

New Scholarship Alert!

You can write about an elected official who inspires you — and win up to $10,000 for college.

John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest

Contest Topic

Describe and analyze an act of political courage by a US elected official who served during or after 1917.

To learn more about political courage, visit Contest Information and FAQs.

All submissions must adhere to contest requirements.

Contest Deadline

The Profile in Courage Essay Contest opens for submissions on September 1, 2018. The contest deadline is January 18, 2019.

Recognition and Awards

First-place: $10,000          Second-place: $3,000          Five Finalists: $1,000 each          Eight Semi-finalists: $100 each

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The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum does not sell or share your personal information or email address.


Profile in Courage Essay Contest

In Profiles in Courage, John F. Kennedy recounted the stories of eight U.S. senators who risked their careers to do what was right for the nation. These leaders demonstrated political courage by taking a stand for the public good in spite of pressure by interest groups, their political party, or even their constituents. The Profile in Courage Essay Contest challenges students to write an original and creative essay that demonstrates an understanding of political courage as described by John F. Kennedy in Profiles in Courage.
Contest Topic
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. Include an analysis of the obstacles, risks, and consequences associated with the act. The essay may concern an issue at the local, state, national, or international level.
The maximum word count is 1,000 with a minimum of 700, not including citations and bibliography. Use at least five varied sources such as government documents, letters, newspaper articles, books, and/or personal interviews.
All submissions must adhere to contest requirements.
The contest deadline is January 18, 2019.
  • The winner receives a $10,000 cash award. The winner and her/his family are invited to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston to accept her/his award and participate in Profile in Courage Award events from May 18 – 20, 2019. Travel and lodging expenses will be paid for the trip to Boston for the winning student and her/his parents.
  • Second-place winner receives $3,000.
  • Five finalists receive $1,000 each.
  • Eight semifinalists receive $100 each.
  • Ten students receive honorable mentions.

Local Letters for Global Change: A Pulitzer Center Writing Contest

Announcing the Pulitzer Center Letter-Writing Contest!

Make your voice heard this election season by writing a letter to a member of Congress that explains the global issue you want them to prioritize. Make your case using Pulitzer Center reporting.

The Pulitzer Center wants to read and share your letters: tell us, and the world, what’s most important to you. Read on for contest details. DEADLINE: Friday, November 16th at 11:59PM EST.


1st place:

  • $100 to throw a class party celebrating global community engagement (payment distributed to your class teacher)
  • A personal video message from a journalist who reported on the issue you select
  • A profile of you written by a professional journalist [optional]
  • Publication of your letter on the Pulitzer Center website

2nd & 3rd place:

  • A personal video message from a journalist who reported on the issue you select
  • A profile of you written by a professional journalist [optional]
  • Publication of your letter on the Pulitzer Center website


  • Publication of your letter on the Pulitzer Center website


Any current K-12 student in the United States or abroad may submit. Students outside the United States should address a local equivalent to their member of Congress.


Friday, November 16, 2018 11:59 PM EST

Submission guidelines: 

1. Go to and choose a news story about an issue affecting another part of the world. When choosing your news story, consider: How is this issue relevant to your local community? Why should you and your neighbors care about it? [See below for some suggested stories to get you started]

2. Write a one-page letter to one of the member of Congress for your state that includes the following:

I.    Short summary of an issue affecting another part of the world, citing a Pulitzer Center news story.
II.  Explanation of why this issue is important to you and your community.
III. Suggestion of what action you would like your Congressperson to take on this issue.

For support writing your letter, use this letter-writing template.

3. Submit using this Google form. It will request some basic personal/contact information, and you can copy/paste your letter directly into the form.

4. Your representatives’ contact information is available online. After submitting your letter to the Pulitzer Center, consider mailing or emailing your letter to them directly!

Judging criteria:

Judges will use this rubric to evaluate letters.

Support for Preparing Students:

1. You can use this graphic organizer to guide your students in making connections to global news stories and planning their letters.

2. Email to invite a Pulitzer Center education team member to facilitate a lesson for your class in-person or via Skype.

3. Feel free to adapt this rubric to evaluate your students’ letters.

Suggested News Stories:

Migration, Immigration, and Refugees

We Became Fragments: A Teenager Starting Over in Canada [Video]
Jamaica’s ‘Barrel Children’ Often Come up Empty with a Parent Abroad [Text]
Across the Border and Back: An Asylum Seeker’s Journey [Video]
The First Syrian Refugees in Iowa [Text]
The Labor Train: Following the Migrant Workers of Tajikistan [Video, Drawings/Paintings]

Climate Change and the Environment

The Weight of Numbers: Air Pollution and PM2.5 [Video, photo, text]
Threshold Podcast: Climate Change in Shishmaref, Alaska [Audio]
China’s Surprising Solutions to Clear Killer Air [Text]
How a Warmer Arctic Could Intensify Extreme Weather [Video]
Young Collectors, Traders Help Fuel a Boom in Ultra-Exotic Pets [Video, text]

Human Rights

For Uganda’s LGBTQ+ Community, Visibility Brings Violence [Photo, text]
The Fight to Overturn El Salvador’s Abortion Ban [Text] – Content warning: Sexual assault
The Deadly Risk of Standing Up to Putin [Video]
Would You Let Your 10-Year-Old Kid Work? It’s Perfectly Legal in This Country[Video, text]
A California Summer Camp Helps Families Stay Close While a Parent is in Prison[Text]

Student Essay/Speaking Contest

Student Essay/Speaking Contest – entry deadline Oct. 26th

NEW THIS YEAR:  The Arkansas School Boards Association is holding a personal essay/speaking contest where 11th and 12th grade students will have an opportunity to present before an audience of more than 600 school board members and administrators during the ASBA Annual Conference, held December 5-7, 2018 at the Marriott Hotel and Statehouse Convention Center in downtown Little Rock.

The purpose for this contest is two-fold. First, it is designed to give Arkansas juniors and seniors an opportunity to express creative ideas and concepts, conduct research, think critically, practice public speaking skills and subsequently receive recognition for doing so. Secondly, it’s an opportunity for Annual Conference attendees to see and hear examples of the quality of young men and women the schools within our state are producing.

Three student winners will present at designated times December 6 & 7 during ASBA’s Annual conference and will also receive cash prizes as follows:

  • 1st Place:   $1000
  • 2nd Place:  $750
  • 3rd place:   $500
  • Honorable Mention:  $250


Can and Should Freedom of Expression and Civility Co-exist?

In the name of the First Amendment and the freedom of expression it guarantees, rancorous rhetoric is fast becoming more commonplace across our country, causing many to wonder if it’s any longer safe or beneficial to engage in democratic discourse. Is there a way to participate in conversations where various opinions and options for solving problems of common concern, weighing alternatives, resolving differences and co-existing without acrimony and hostility are possible? Is practicing civility (reasoned public discourse where respect, restraint, responsibility, and empathy coexist with free expression) still as important as self-governance, freedom of expression and individual dignity or does civility hamper free expression?

Click here for detailed contest instructions, incentives and rules. The contest deadline is Friday, October 26, 2018.

We the Students Scholarship Opportunity

New Scholarship Opportunity!

Click Here for more information

We are excited to announce the launch of the 2018-2019 We the Students Essay Contest. Winners of this year’s contest will receive a total of $20,000 in scholarship funds including a $5,000 award and a scholarship to 2019 Constitutional Academy to the grand prize winner.

This year we are asking students to personalize their essays while encouraging them to expand their understanding of citizenship beyond an abstract concept, envisioning it as knowledge and actions inspired by America’s founding principles.

The specific essay prompt this year is: “What are essential qualities of a citizen in your community in 21st century America?”

Students can find contest details, including rules and instructions on how to submit an essay on the website.

We look forward to hearing from your students about what citizenship looks like in their communities!


Madison Howard
Education Program Manager
Bill of Rights Institute

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©2018 Bill of Rights Institute, 1310 North Courthouse Rd. #620 Arlington, VA 22201

“Behind the Scenes” Photo Contest

In addition to the $100,000 in cash prizes that will be awarded to the winning documentaries, C-SPAN is asking students to take us “Behind the Scenes” of their documentary for a chance to win one of five $100 cash prizes. Requirements include:

  • Students share a photograph from the production of their StudentCam documentary on social media.
  • Students may post to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or a Snapchat account – upload a photo, tell us about it, and include the hashtag #StudentCam2019.
  • Students then send an attached screengrab of their social media post along with the names of all team members and the name of their school to:
  • Students must submit their photo by the main competition deadline on Sunday, January 20, 2019. Five $100 prizes to be awarded in March 2019. To be eligible, students must also enter a documentary in this year’s StudentCam competition but the documentary does not have to be one of the winning videos in order to win a prize in the “Behind the Scenes” contest.


Questions about the competition? Please email us at anytime at:

Warm regards,


Craig McAndrew, Pam McGorry, and Tom Grane
C-SPAN’s Education team

StudentCam, C-SPAN’s annual video documentary competition!

Looking for a fun yet challenging project-based learning opportunity? Consider participating in StudentCam, C-SPAN’s annual video documentary competition!

This national contest invites all middle school students (grades 6-8) and high school students (grades 9-12) to create a 5-6-minute documentary, based on the theme:


Choose a constitutional right, national characteristic, or historic event and explain how it defines the American experience.

Student videos should evaluate how this right, characteristic or event is upheld in our society, or challenged by current events. Rights or characteristics may include aspects of democracy, opportunity, liberty, justice, equality, diversity, unity, individualism, other rights, guiding principles, or shared values.

PROMO VIDEO: StudentCam 2019 Announcement

Competition Guidelines: 

  • Students may compete individually, or in teams of either 2 or 3 members.
  • Entries must thoroughly explore a variety of viewpoints related to their chosen topic.
  • Documentaries must contain supporting C-SPAN video clips.
  • Students must submit their entry form and video by January 20, 2019.

C-SPAN awards a total of $100,000 in cash prizes! Students compete for a chance to win one of 150 prizes. Teachers also have the opportunity to win one of 53 Faculty Advisor prizes.

Never participated before, or concerned with how to introduce the project to your students? Check out our updated Teacher Tips page for ideas like our introductory research guide that will help your students through the process of planning and creating their video.

You will find a complete list of competition rules and documentary requirements, along with links to view past winning videos at