Final Paper
Ten Source Paper
Profiles in Courage

In 1957, Senator John F. Kennedy authored a book entitled Profiles in Courage. It won the Pulitzer Prize. For more information, please see the website at the John F. Kennedy Library. Your assignment is to write an original profile of courage.

The JFK Library is sponsoring a contest for high school students to write an original essay on a courageous elected official. Contest Requirements.


Describe and analyze an act of political courage by a United States elected official that took place during or after 1917 (JFK Centennial Commemoration). 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. 

If you are not interested in entering the contest you may deviate from the posted requirements but be sure to meet the source requirements of the paper as described below. EXTRA CREDIT will be given to those who enter the contest. If you are entering the contest, the rules state that I must read it before you submit it. Thus you must email me your essay by December 17  so I have enough time to read it and you can revise it.

Write a good essay. DO NOT merely string your sources together. You need to comment, interpret, and argue a point. Poor writing will earn a poor grade.


Sources:  You will need to have ten sources at a minimum including
JFK's Profiles of Courage,
1 primary source,
4 printed articles from a newspaper, magazine or journal,
1 non-traditional source (Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, podcast, tv, radio, youtube, video)
3 other sources

ALL sources must be credible academic sources. For a description of what constitutes "credible," please use the CRAAP test.
At least 2 sources from the current year

Encyclopedias (including Wikipedia) and dictionaries are not allowed as sources because they are considered by most professors as non-academic. Neither should you cite non-academically credible websites. ALL SOURCES MUST LIST AUTHORS. (Reputable organizations such as The American Lung Society are counted as being authors.) Dictionaries and quote pages/books are not sources. Authorless web sites such as;; encyclopedias [both online and print], and others are not acceptable sources.

20 citations MINIMUM.



MLA, APA, Chicago 1, Chicago 2 and CSE styles will be used. This means you will write ONE paper, but you will change the format 5 times.

See Sample 1   Sample 2


Introductory Video - Political Courage

CBS Sunday Morning

Obama receiving award



      Due Dates                     
                     Chicago 1 due Jan 5
                     MLA Jan 6,  Chicago 2 Jan 7, APA Jan 8, CSE Jan 9
                     (semester ends Jan 21)

                      Contest Entries - Due January 14  (Chicago 2) 
                      EXTRA CREDIT (up to 200 points, max. 90%)   


Point value = 1000 points (250 pts for content, 150 pts for each format)

Judging Criteria JFK Library
Peer Response Form
Common Core Standards

High Performing El Segundo Students:

Second Round Certificates
2019 Round 2 essayists: Bianca Cantu, Allison Armijo, Kamilia Moore, Shelby McDonald  (Kennedy Letter)
2018 Round 2 essayist: Jason Liu
2017 Honorable MentionZoe Forest (Kennedy Letter)
2016 Round 2 essayists: Nicholas PazZoe Forest Allison Tatnall Kalysa To
2015 Round 2 essayists: Katherine Chica    Molly Nolan
2014 Round 2 essayist:  Rebecca Pedersen
2013 Round 2 essayists: Anjali Chopra   Georgia Riggs
2012 Round 2 essayist:  Alisa Rose
2011 Round 2 essayists: Colin Elder  Will Reimann   Jack Li



Lauren Davis - Vaughan Whitworth
Courtney Hayworth -
Aung San Suu Kyi


Past Winning Essays   Actual Profiles in Courage Award Winner
Topic Position  
2021 Dana Redd Mayor  

Walter B. Jones Jr.

Congressman North Carolina  
2019 Edith Nourse Rogers Congresswoman Massachusetts  
2018 Harry T. Burn Tennessee State Legislature  
2017 Congressman Ohio  
2016 Howard Baker Tennessee Senator  
2015 Tom Selders Mayor Greeley, Colorado  
2014 John Morse Colorado State Senator  
2013 Roy MacDonald New York State Senator  


Russell Peterson Delaware Governor  
2011 John Orr Florida State Rep  
2010 Ken Hechler Congressman West Virginia  
2009 Nicholas D’Adamo Baltimore City Council  
2008 Pamela Alexander Judge  
2007 Shirley Chisholm Congresswoman New York  
2006 Senator Hatfield Oregon  
2005 Paul V. Gallegos DA Humbolt County  
2005 Ivan Allen, Jr Mayor of Atlanta  
2004 George Ryan Governor Illinois  
2004 Bernard Confer School Board New Jersey  
2003 Wayne L. Morse Senator Oregon  
2002 George M. Michaels State Assembly New York  
2001 Bart Stupak Governor Vermont  
2000 Bernie Sanders Congressman Vermont  

Facebook page for Profiles in Courage