Press Releases

 

Charleston – Fifteen West Virginia school children are on their way to a brighter future, after winning regional awards in the seventh annual SMART529 “When I Grow Up” essay contest. State Treasurer John Perdue recognized the winners Thursday morning during a ceremony at the West Virginia Culture Center.  

The 15 winning essays were selected out of more than 3,000 entries from all over West Virginia. Each winner received $500 invested into a SMART529 WV Direct account. An additional $4,500 in a SMART529 account was awarded to the grand prize winner, Brynne Hartung, a student at Frankfort Intermediate in Mineral County. Hartung’s name was selected during a random drawing at the event. Each winning student’s school was also recognized and awarded a $500 cash prize to support school programs.

“I want all of you to be successful,” Perdue told the winners. “The best way to guarantee success is by continuing your education after high school.”

The contest gives kindergarten through fifth grade students a chance to share in nearly $20,000 in SMART529 savings for higher education. Three age group winners (K-1, 2-3, 4-5) were judged in each of the five regions, making for a total of 15 winners. Former State Board of Education member Priscilla Haden and former Charleston Daily Mail publisher Nanya Friend judged the entries. Essays were judged on originality, creativity and the importance of post-secondary education.

2014 “When I Grow Up” Contest Student Winners

Name

Grade

School

County

Occupation

Natalie Gunnoe

1

Maxwell Hill

Raleigh

Dentist

Diesel Bryant

3

Verdunville Grade

Logan

Scientist

Jordan Morris

5

Gauley River Elem.

Nicholas

Detective

Landon Kennedy

K

Mountain View

Putnam

Eye Doctor

Nicholas Kennedy

3

Mountain View

Putnam

Pediatric Dentist

Emily Harper

5

Overbrook Elem.

Kanawha

President

Dominic Egidi

K

Suncrest Primary

Monongalia

Doctor

Kenly Rogers

2

East Dale Elem.

Marion

Designer

JD Love

5

Simpson Elem.

Harrison

Neurologist

Chloe Hiet

1

Opequon Elem.

Berkeley

Principal

Andrew Oyerly

2

Shepherdstown Elem.

Jefferson

Teddy Bear Factory Owner

Brynne Hartung

4

Frankfort Intermediate

Mineral

Architect

Blake Mitchell

K

Doddridge County Elem.

Doddridge

Zookeeper

Dominic Guiddy

3

Liberty Elem.

Hancock

Robotic Engineer

Riley Smith

4

Greenmont Elem.

Wood

Lego Designer

2014 Teachers’ Contest Winner

In addition to the student winners, Shady Spring Elementary School teacher Julia Reynolds was awarded $2,500 cash for her essay about how she planned to educate children about going to college and saving with the SMART529 program. The teachers’ entries were judge by Terry Reale, a consultant with the West Virginia Department of Education.

“We rely on teachers to emphasis the importance of saving for higher education. I am thrilled to continue a program that will reward them for making a special effort to encourage their students to think beyond high school,” said Perdue.

The “When I Grow Up” student and teacher essay contests are sponsored by the SMART529 College Savings Program, The Hartford and the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office to promote awareness of SMART529 and the need for higher education savings.

Information about this year’s essay contests were made available through www.SMART529.com, in the SMART529 program’s school newsletter and direct mail publications.

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.

Complete information about the SMART529 program and contests is available at www.SMART529.com.

 






The Treasury does not collect state taxes. Visit the The West Virginia State Tax Department for assistance.

West Virginia State Treasurer's Office
1900 Kanawha Boulevard
Capitol Complex Building #1, Room E-145
Charleston, West Virginia 25305
304-558-5000 Toll Free: 800-422-7498
Hours: 8am-5pm (ET)

Copyright 2021 by West Virginia State Treasury