Press Releases

Entries must be submitted by Friday, February 25 to qualify

State Treasurer Riley Moore today reminded eligible participants to enter the 2022 SMART529 ‘When I Grow Up’ student and teacher essay contest for a chance to win significant prizes.

The annual essay contest gives West Virginia students in grades K-5 the chance to win up to $5,000 in SMART529 savings for higher education. Teachers have an opportunity to win a $2,500 cash prize.

“This program stresses the importance of investing early in our children’s futures,” Treasurer Moore said. “I want to encourage parents and teachers to inspire their students to think about what they want to be when they grow up and start planning now for their lives beyond high school.” 

In its 15th year, the popular contest gives kindergarten through fifth-grade students a chance to win both SMART529 savings for higher education and cash prizes for their schools.

Entries will be judged among five regions in three age groups (K-1, 2-3, 4-5), making for a total of 15 regional winners. The 15 winners will be awarded $500 invested into SMART529 college savings accounts.

Out of the regional winners, one grand prize winner will be randomly selected to receive a total of $5,000 in SMART529 scholarship money. Each winner’s school will also receive a $500 cash award.

Teachers of grades kindergarten through fifth can also compete in the teacher portion of the essay contest. This year’s winning teacher will receive a $2,500 cash prize.

The When I Grow Up essay contest allows students to submit, in 100 words or less, an essay that explains what they want to be when they grow up. Entries will be judged on originality, creativity and the importance of post-secondary education.

Entry forms for both students and teachers are available at, and also at elementary schools throughout the state. The deadline for entry form and essay submissions is Friday, February 25, 2022.

SMART529 is a qualified tuition program issued by the Board of Trustees of the West Virginia College and Jumpstart Savings Programs and administered by Hartford Funds. For more information on SMART529 or the When I Grow Up essay contest, go to

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 2023 by West Virginia State Treasury