The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation has announced today that the National John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest is now open and accepting submissions from U.S. high school students.
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 winner 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, says a press release.
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.
The Kennedy 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.
"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."
Carol Fulp, Senior Vice President, Corporate Responsibility and Brand Initiatives for John Hancock Financial, who are sponsoring the award:
"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."
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.
The deadline for entries is Saturday, January 7, 2012.