Profiles 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, 2022. The contest deadline is January 13, 2023.

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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Second Annual Young Saturday “Visiter” Awards for student-creators inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s life and works

The Herald-Mail

Sun, October 9, 2022 at 4:01 AM·2 min read

BALTIMORE — What better time than October for a writing contest for work inspired by Edgar Allan Poe?

Poe Baltimore and the Baltimore National Heritage Area are hosting the Second Annual Young Saturday ‘Visiter’ Awards. The free competition is open to all Maryland high school student-creators who are inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s life and works.

Submissions are due on Monday, Oct. 31. All media and genres, including digital or web-based works, are eligible. For competition details and to apply, visit:

In 1833, Edgar Allan Poe submitted a short story to the weekly The Baltimore Saturday ‘Visiter’ and won the competition, which helped propel his career. The Saturday ‘Visiter’ Awards are named for this life-changing experience.

“Midnighter’s Limousine Dream” by Jesus Diaz

Wake up at the back of the limousine
Blood on my hand and a bow on my back
My hand of blood and thorns of roses pulls out this bow of cupid
I’m bleeding
Lots and lots of blood
But I’m not dying
Something is stopping me from dying
This white texture of the limousine filled with gray mechanical clogs with the shaping of a city
like circus
A true dream world
But I want to leave
This is a dream
But it’s not my dream

Continue reading ““Midnighter’s Limousine Dream” by Jesus Diaz”

“The Hairpin” by Kathryn Thayer

(Fan fiction in honor of “Mushi-Shi”, a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yuki Urushibara)

A small hairpin sat pinched between Ginko’s fingers. At first glance, the hairpin looked like any other he’s seen. Decorated with small, painted wooden flowers, it was something that could have been spotted in dozens of young ladies hair.

Yet…on further examination, a shiny iridescent sheen could be seen if Ginko tilted the pin just right. Almost… as if the pin had been dipped in a river of light. Definitely a mushi’s influence.

“Ahh, I’ve seen that pretty hairpin has caught your eye, young man!”

The shopkeeper, previously occupied with another customer, came walking up to Ginko. She gestured to the hairpin, a great big smile on her face.

“That’s a special hairpin right there. It’s said if it’s gifted to a lady, her beauty will increase by tenfold and her household will enjoy ten years of good luck.” The shopkeeper winked. “Have a lady in mind you think would enjoy it?”

Ginko’s mind briefly brought up the image of the intended recipient of the hairpin and almost laughed.

“Hmm, no, not really.” Ginko shook his head, smiling. “I do have a doctor friend down by the coast who likes collecting this kind of stuff. Has an entire shed dedicated to ‘touched’ items. It’s been a while since I’ve seen him, so I figured I better come bearing gifts. A hairpin with special properties would be perfect for him.”

“A wonderful idea!” the shopkeeper exclaimed while clapping her hands together.

She led Ginko over to the register so she could wrap the hairpin up in a nice sturdy cloth. Ginko choose a green cloth that reminded him of his lone green eye, and the shopkeeper tied it up with a lovely yellow string.

“That’ll be 500 ryō.”

 Ginko shrugged off his wooden pack and shuffled through the drawers for the bag of money he kept stashed away in one of them. After finding it and digging out 500 ryō, he handed it over to the shopkeeper and stashed the hairpin in an empty drawer in his pack.

Ginko bowed goodbye to the shopkeeper and thanked her for her time.

Continue reading ““The Hairpin” by Kathryn Thayer”

“My Truck” by Kelly Woods

“Here in my car, I feel safest of all” – Gary Neuman – “Cars” 

One more month,

  I can fix it 

Push it till next week 

   Ameture hour

I don’t have time today 


Trying to work on a car that is slightly older than you can look like a hill,

but achieving the main goal to drive it, will be a sweet reward.

It’s going to take a lot of work, with time and patience this masterpiece will be a great accomplishment.

Knowing that you put your time and effort into a goal bigger than yourself will have a big payoff. 

Continue reading ““My Truck” by Kelly Woods”

“The Wells’s Are Not So Well-Off” by Maya Ocasio

In society we see the rich as posh, stuck-up people. We seem to envy them. We want to have their success (or their trust funds). Yet, shockingly, they’re pretty messed up and probably having existential crises as well. The Well-Off screw up, they face struggles, and their lives are kind of like the rest of society— just with millions of dollars and a self-driving Tesla. To prove this to you, let’s look at the crazy life of one of these “Well-Off” families— the Wells’s family…

Continue reading ““The Wells’s Are Not So Well-Off” by Maya Ocasio”

“Nothing New” by Mikyle Robinson

To me this is nothing new

Another black man killed on the news

I try to stay positive but still sing the blues

How can I stay lifted when they keep tearing me down?

How can I let my voice be heard without making a sound?

I wonder if I’m next or if I’m just another number

Because I sit here thinking about all the black live lost this summer

I’m only seventeen just trying to survive

I want to be like my idols, you know the ones still alive

The ones who had wives, families, jobs, ambitions

Why do I feel like no one is listening?

I just want to live my life and have fun

And not think that every officer thinks I have a gun

But how can I be fed up and tired

When all the other kids want more to be desired

You know what I’ll be the change, the positive motion

And embrace my color, my hair, and cocoa butter lotion

Because for me it was when I was eleven

Still in middle school just tryna’ get even

Then I heard a name on the tv that night

Another boy, the same age as me, his name was Tamir Rice

I was confused at the time not really understanding, you see

That a kid could get shot who looked just like me

Don’t worry y’all, don’t sweat it, we’ll get there

Because we stand for equality it’s only fair

So, when you say that this poem is for us

The world needs more love, more acceptance, and more trust

Photo credit:

A Good Man

by Samya Marbury

Demons run

when a good man go to war.

Night will fall and drown the sun

when a good man goes to war.

Friendship dies and true love lies

when a good man goes to war.

Night will fall and the dark will rise

when a good man goes to war.

Demons run, but count the cost,

the battle’s won, but the child is lost

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