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“When I Grow Up” contest kicks off again 
Treasurer Perdue brought West Side Elementary fourth-grader Avery Lee up as the Treasurer talked about the importance of education.

CHARLESTON – The West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office and The Hartford recently kicked off its popular student and teacher essay contests, as students from across the Mountain State will compete for a possible $5,000 in prizes.

Now in its sixth year, the When I Grow Up (WIGU) student essay contest gives kindergarten-through-fifth-grade students a chance to share in nearly $20,000 in SMART529 savings available through the competition. Nearly 3,000 students participated in the contest in 2012.

Also this year, teachers have an opportunity to compete in the third-annual essay contest for a $2,500 cash prize.

“Today, an education beyond high school is a requirement. It means a better job and over a million dollars more in income over a lifetime,” said state Treasurer John D. Perdue. “Through the When I Grow Up contest and SMART529 College Savings Plan, we want to make the reality of a college education come true for every West Virginia child.”

Encourage your child to enter this year’s contest for a chance to win. Entry forms and contest rules can be downloaded here. All your child has to do is fill out the entry form, get your signature and answer, in 100 words or less, “When I grow up, I want to be a/an _________ because….”

Artwork may be submitted in addition to the entry form and essay. Entries must be postmarked by 11:59 pm February 22, 2013. Take a look at previous year’s winning entries by following this link.

The contest is open to West Virginia children in Kindergarten through 5th grade. A winner will be selected from each of three grade level categories (Kindergarten – 1st, 2nd – 3rd, and 4th – 5th) in five regions of the state for a total of 15 regional winners. Each regional winner will receive a $500 SMART529 account. Each regional winner’s school will receive $500.

The fifteen regional winners will then be eligible to win an additional $4,500 SMART529 account and will be asked to attend a May press conference and event in Charleston, WV.

Regional winner selections will be based on criteria including originality, creativity and the importance of post-secondary education in the chosen field. The grand prize winner will be randomly selected by drawing from the names of the 15 regional winners.

No matter what your child’s dream – to be a veterinarian, geologist or teacher – college is a must. Encourage your child to enter this year’s contest.