CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Elementary school students from around the state have the chance to win up to $5,000 in higher education expenses as State Treasurer John Perdue and The Hartford conduct the ninth annual SMART529 When I Grow Up student and teacher essay contest.
“Every year I look forward to visiting a local elementary school to announce the start of this contest and stress the importance of post-secondary education,” said Treasurer Perdue. “These days, education beyond high school is an essential part of ensuring a child’s success.”
The contest gives kindergarten through fifth grade students a chance to share in nearly $20,000 in SMART529 savings for higher education. Three age group winners (K-1, 2-3, 4-5) will be judged in each of the five regions, making for a total of 15 winners.
The 15 winners will be awarded $500 invested into a SMART529 college savings account and will be invited to an event in the fall where the grand prize winner will be randomly selected to receive a total of $5,000 in SMART529 scholarship money. Each winner’s school will also receive a $500 cash award.
The When I Grow Up contest allows students, with the help of their parent or guardian, to submit, in 100 words or less, an essay that answers what they want to be when they grow up. Entries will be judged on originality, creativity and the importance of post-secondary education.
“We are thrilled to partner with Treasurer Perdue once again in promoting college savings in West Virginia,” said Hartford Life Vice President Jeff Coghan. “Nothing opens the doors of opportunity like an education.”
Teachers of grades K through 5 will also have the opportunity to compete in the teacher portion of the essay contest. This year’s winning teacher will receive a $2,500 cash prize.
“We rely on teachers to emphasize the importance of obtaining a higher education,” Perdue said. “I am thrilled to continue a program that will reward them for making a special effort to encourage their students to think beyond high school.”
Entry forms for both students and teachers are available at www.SMART529.com. In addition, forms will be available at elementary schools throughout the state. The deadline for entry form and essay submissions is Feb. 26.
SMART529 is a qualified tuition program issued by the West Virginia Prepaid College Tuition and Savings Program Board of Trustees and administered by Hartford Life.
For more information on the SMART529 When I Grow Up contest, contact Gina Joynes at 304-341-0758 or George Manahan at 304-546-6174.