West Virginia State Treasurer John Perdue recognized a student essay contest winner at Verdunville Elementary School on Thurs., May 8 at 10:30 a.m., and presented a $500 check to the school during a ceremony.
VES third grade student Diesel Bryant is one of 15 regional winners in the 2014 SMART529 When I Grow Up essay contest. As a result, his school receives a $500 cash award. In the past, winning schools have used the money to buy new equipment, offer learning incentives or reward students.
VES principal Bonnie Vance said the school will definitely be using the money on their students.
Bryant wrote his essay about how he wants to be a scientist when he grows up.
“Every year I am surprised and impressed by the students’ career choices and their ability to describe their goals,” Perdue said . “It’s a great privilege to personally meet with these essay contest winners and present the cash prizes to their schools.”
In addition to the school prize, Bryant will receive $500 invested into a SMART529 college savings plan and be recognized at a statewide awards ceremony September 18 in Charleston. At that time, the student will be entered into a random drawing for a chance to win the grand prize, a total of $5,000 invested into a SMART529 account.
SMART529 is West Virginia’s college savings program issued by the West Virginia College Prepaid Tuition and Savings Program Board of Trustees under Treasurer Perdue, Chairman, and is administered by Hartford Life.
Perdue said that the SMART529 account has now reached over $2 billion, making W. Va.’s one of the most successful state-lead college savings plans in the nation.
“These days, education beyond high school is an essesntial part of ensuring a child’s success,” Perdue said.
A large part of his discussion with the children revolved around the importance of dreams and education.
“Being 6’6”, when I was young I thought I’d be a basketball star. I never dreamed I would grow up to be the W.Va. State Treasurer,” Perdue said, “That’s why it’s important for you to pay attention to your teachers and go the extra mile. Stay on the cutting edge of those important subjects: English, math and science.”
More than 3,000 students in kindergarten through fifth grade participated in this year’s contest. The winning entries were selected by an independent panel of judges based on originality, creativity and the importance of post-secondary education.
“This contest is a great opportunity for parents to grow their child’s college fund and teach their children about the importance of saving for higher education,” Perdue said.
Perdue also gave all of the students a W.Va. quarter.
For more information on the contest, go to SMART529.com