2014-01-29 / School News

Seventh Annual SMART529 essay contest

Elementary school students around the state have the chance to win up to $5,000 in higher education expenses. West Virginia State Treasurer John Perdue and representatives of The Hartford announced the seventh annual SMART529 When I Grow Up student and teacher essay contest at Kanawha City Elementary School in Charleston.

“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.”

Last year, more than 4,500 students participated in the contest, setting a new record for participants.

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 (Kone, two-three, four-five) will be judged in each of the five regions, making for a total of 15 winners.

The 15 winners will be awarded a $500 college savings account and will be honored at an event in the fall where the grand prize winner will be 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.

Teachers of grades K through fifth 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 emphasis the importance of saving for higher education. 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,” said Perdue.

Entry forms for both students and teachers are available at elementary schools throughout the state within the next two weeks. The deadline for entry form and essay submissions is February 21.

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 contest, contact Gina Joynes at 304-341-0758 or George Manahan at 304-546-6174.

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