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West Virginia State Treasurer John Perdue, right, poses with Chapmanville Middle School sixth-grader Elijah Murphy after presenting him with a $500 SMART529 check on Thursday, Oct. 10.

CHAPMANVILLE — West Virginia State Treasurer John Perdue visited Chapmanville Middle School on Thursday, Oct. 10, to share his Get a Life financial education activity, and to present a $500 check to a student for winning in the SMART529 “When I Grow Up Contest.”

Approximately 140 students participated in the Get a Life activity, which is an award-winning, interactive financial education simulation designed for the State Treasurer’s Office in which students are given a realistic family budget and must visit business stations and manage an expense ledger. Students learn both basic math skills and problem-solving techniques in the process.

“With programs like the Get a Life activity, I believe students in West Virginia will be better prepared to live and succeed in the real world,” said Perdue via press release. “As the State Treasurer of West Virginia, I believe it is my duty to help schools provide meaningful financial education.”

The activity is part of Perdue’s NetWorth financial education initiative designed to teach personal financial management skills at all grade levels. The program is nationally recognized and has received an Excellence in Financial Literacy Education Award from the Institute for Financial Literacy.

After that activity was over, Perdue presented a check to CMS sixth-grader Elijah Murphy, who was selected as one of 15 regional winners in the 2019 SMART529 “When I Grow Up” Contest. Murphy’s essay was selected from more than 3,300 entries, and he received $500 invested into a SMART529 WV Direct account.

SMART529 is a qualified tuition program issued by the West Virginia Prepaid College Tuition and Savings Program Board of Trustees and administered by Hartford Funds. The essay contest gives students in grades K-5 a chance to share in nearly $12,000 in SMART529 savings for higher education.

Each winning student’s school in the essay contest is also recognized and awarded $500. In addition, SMART529 awarded a $2,500 cash prize to a West Virginia teacher who wrote an essay about using the contest in the classroom to encourage children to think about going to college.

During the assembly, Perdue talked about his Boone County roots of being from Dog Fork, which isn’t far from Chapmanville.

“When a student from southern West Virginia wins, it makes me proud because I’m from here,” Perdue said. “It shows that our contest is making a difference and the teachers are taking a leadership role to get them to write that essay and involve it in their lesson plans as they teach, and I believe it will open some doors of opportunity for all the students to go on to higher education in southern West Virginia.”

Complete information about the SMART529 program, including next year’s “When I Grow Up” essay contest, is available at www.SMART529.com. More information about the Get a Life program and other resources through the State Treasurer’s Office can be accessed at www.wvtreasury.com.

Dylan Vidovich is a news reporter for HD Media. Contact him by phone at 304-896-5196.

Dylan Vidovich is a news reporter for HD Media. Contact him by phone at 304-896-5196.