JFK Library and Museum’s Profile in Courage Essay Contest (with Bard Awards for Essays about confronting hate)

The John F. Kennedy Library and Museum has an annual Profile in Courage Essay Contest for 9-12th graders.  

Please click here to learn more.

The 2024 essay topic is: “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.” There are other requirements about style, sources, and a faculty recommendation. Click here for more information.

For Bard students, we add one other element: The “act of political courage” addressed has to be countering hatred. 

Students must follow the JFK submission process AND ALSO email a copy of their JFK entry to Kenneth Stern, director of the Bard Center for The Study of Hate, at [email protected]. THE DEADLINE IS JANUARY 12, 2024.

Regardless of whether students won one of the JFK awards (which range from $10,000 to $100), BCSH also recognizes the three top Bard student entries, with cash awards as follows: First prize — $200 Second prize — $100  Third prize — $50.

BCSH is proud to announce the winners among Bard submissions:


1st Place — Mia Rodriguez, for an essay on Jamaal Bowman

2nd Place — Zaina Kadir, for an essay on Hattie Caraway

3rd Place — Calder Wysong, for an essay on Bobby Rush


1st Place — Oskar Lieberman, for an essay on Daniel Inouye


1st Place — Aurora Donahue, for an essay on Warren G. Harding.

2nd Place — Kechelle Settle, for an essay on Jeannette Rankin.

3rd Place (two winners) —

Munshi Nadim, for an essay on Adam Clayton Powell.

and Justus Williams, for an essay on Walter Washington