CHARLESTON – Knowing what you want to be when you become an adult will give 15 West Virginia elementary school students a chance to win up to $5,000 for higher education. The sixth-annual When I Grow Up (WIGU) contest, sponsored by SMART529 and the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office, was announced at the Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary School in Charleston by State Treasurer John Perdue.
“These days, education beyond high school is an essential part of ensuring a child’s success,” said Treasurer Perdue. “So many of the good jobs require some form of post-secondary education.”
Also this year, teachers have an opportunity to compete in the third-annual teacher essay contest for a $2,500 cash prize. Teachers of grades K through 5 are encouraged to write a short essay about how they will use the SMART529 lesson plans to help inspire their students to go on to college or pursue other higher education opportunities.
“Teachers have a great influence on the goals and aspirations of their students and I am thrilled to continue a program that will reward them for making a special effort to encourage their students to think about college,” said Perdue.
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 and why. Entries will be judged on originality, creativity and the importance of post-secondary education.
Last year’s contest garnered 3,250 student entries, the largest number of entries in the history of the contest. The 2012 top winner, receiving a $5,000 SMART529 College Savings Plan, was Ahmed Amir, a second-grade student from Maxwell Hills Elementary School in Raleigh County.
“We are thrilled to partner with Treasurer Perdue once again in promoting college savings in West Virginia,” said Hartford Life Vice-President Jeff Coghan. “Nothing opens the doors of opportunity like an education.”
Three age group winners (K-1, 2-3, 4-5) 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 notified in the spring about a news conference to announce the grand prize winner, who will win a $5,000 SMART529 scholarship. Each regional winner’s school will receive a $500 cash award.
Entry forms for both the student and teacher’s contests are available at www.SMART529.com. In addition, forms will be available at elementary schools throughout the state within the next two weeks. The deadline for entry form and essay submissions is February 22.
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.