Essay contest kicked off

Local - 1/24/2014 1:17 PM by Nadine Grimley
CHARLESTON - West Virginia elementary school students who know what they want to become as an adult have the chance to win money for college as part of the seventh annual "When I Grow Up" contest.

It allowed students to submit an essay of 100 words or less that answers what they want to be and why.  Entries will be judged on originality, creativity, and the importance of post-secondary education.  More than 4,500 students entered the competition last year, the largest number of entries in it's history.

"It's just fantastic what they write about, reading those essays just makes you want to cry sometimes," said State Treasurer John Purdue, "but that's what it's about, getting kids to think about their future and to be able to get parents to realize that they need to save for that college education to make a difference in their child's life"

The contest was sponsored by the West Virginia Treasurers Office and SMART529, a qualified tuition program issued by the West Virginia Prepaid College Tuition and Savings Program Board of Trustees that's administered by Hartford Life.

There are three age groups judged in each of the five regions.  That makes for a total of 15 winners who are awarded a $500 college savings account.  Those winners will be notified in April about a conference to announce the grand prize recipient of a $5,000 SMART529 scholarship.  Each regional winner's school will get $500 in cash. 

Teachers also get the change to compete in the fourth-annual essay contest for a $2,500 cash prize.  Educators of grades K through five are encouraged to write a short essay about how they will use the SMART529 lesson plans to help inspire their students to go to college or pursue other higher education opportunities. 

Entry forms for both the student and teacher's contests are available at


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