State Treasurer Presents Cash Awards to Students

WEST VIRGINIA (WOAY) – A couple of elementary school students with big future received a special visit from the state treasurer today.

John Perdue visited two students to present cash prizes for winning an essay contest about what they want to be when they grow up.

Raleigh County third grader Rowan Meadows and Summers County first grader Keira Winkler were chosen from 5,000 essayists. Each received $500 checks and $500 invested into a SMART529 college savings plan.

“The importance behind that is to let parents know pretty quickly that there’s money out there,” said Perdue. “Five hundred dollars invested over a long period of time will turn into almost $2,000 by the time they get to college.”

The kids also entered a drawing for the chance to win a total of $5,000 invested in a SMART529 account.

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Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at