‘When I Grow Up’ essay contest open to West Virginia K-5th grade students

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia’s “2022 SMART529 When I Grow Up” student and teacher essay contest is getting underway.

West Virginia State Treasurer Riley Moore says the annual contest gives kindergarten through 5th-grade students throughout the Mountain State a chance to win up to $5,000 in SMART529 savings for higher education and cash prizes for their schools. Kindergarten through 5th-grade teachers can also compete in a teacher portion of the contest where the winning teacher will also win a $2,500 cash prize.

“This program inspires our children to dream about their futures and what they aspire to do when they grow up,” Moore said. “It also stresses to parents the importance of preparing for our children’s futures at a young age.”

This is the 15th year for the contest, Moore says.

Moore’s office says the deadline for the entry form and essay submissions is Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2022. The entry forms for both the student and teacher contests are available online at www.SMART529.com, and will also be available at elementary schools across the state.

For the student portion of the contest, the students will submit an essay in 100 words or less explaining what they want to be when they grow up. Moore’s office says the entries will be judged “on originality, creativity and the importance of post-secondary education.”

According to the treasurer’s office, the entries will be judged by age groups of kindergarten through 1st grade, 2nd grade through 3rd grade, and 4th grade through 5th grade, and will also be divided into five regions. Each region/age division will have a winner, and these 15 winners will be awarded $500 that will be invested into a SMART 529 savings account, and their schools will receive a $500 cash award, Moore’s office said. One grand-prize winner will be selected from the 15 students to receive the $5,000 SMART529 scholarship.

Moore’s office says the SMART529 program the scholarships are through is a qualified tuition program issued by the West Virginia Prepaid College Tuition and Savings Program’s board of trustees that is administered through Hartford Funds. The tax-advantaged savings plans are designed to help encourage families to save for higher education.

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