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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

New Jersey Student Wins Profile in Courage Essay Contest

John Siegenthaler presents Emily Ullman (right) with a certificate honoring her first-place in the 2002 Profile in Courage Essay Contest. Patricia Hans (left), Emily?s nominating teacher, was recognized with a $500 John F. Kennedy Service Grant to encourage student leadership and civic engagement. The contest and awards are underwritten by Fidelity Investments.
Joey Libby
John Siegenthaler presents Emily Ullman (right) with a certificate honoring her first-place in the 2002 Profile in Courage Essay Contest. Patricia Hans (left), Emily?s nominating teacher, was recognized with a $500 John F. Kennedy Service Grant to encourage student leadership and civic engagement. The contest and awards are underwritten by Fidelity Investments.

The winning essay in the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest for High School Students was written by Emily Ullman, a senior at the Academy for the Advancement of Science and Technology in Hackensack, New Jersey. Ms. Ullman’s essay recounts the integrity and political courage demonstrated by the late George M. Michaels, a New York State Assemblyman.

In her essay, Ms. Ullman describes the vote of conscience cast by 59 year-old George Michaels. In 1970, Assemblyman Michaels changed his “no” vote to a “yes” vote, dramatically allowing passage of a bill that repealed New York’s anti-abortion laws. Michaels had a son who, Ms. Ullman wrote, “told his father about the poor women he had seen mangled by back-alley abortions, a problem that affected Michaels deeply.” The vote-change allowed the bill to pass and cost Michaels his political career. “As the floor erupted,” Ms. Ullman wrote, “Michaels put his head down and cried.”

The student essay contest is named for President Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Profiles in Courage, which recounts the stories of eight U.S. senators who risked their careers to fight for what they believed in. The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest for High School Students is held annually by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation with the generous support of Fidelity Investments. Emily Ullman was awarded a $3,000 first-place prize and hardcover copy of Profiles in Courage. Ms. Ullman’s nominating teacher, Patricia Hans, received a $500 John F. Kennedy Service Grant to help encourage student leadership and civic engagement in her classroom.

This year, the essay contest received a record 2,851 submissions from high-school students across the nation. Contest details are available for interested students and schools on the Library’s Web page at www.jfkibrary.org under Education.