Press Releases

Regional winners share in $12,000 in SMART529 savings

Jaylynn Gano, a second-grader from East Hardy Middle School in Hardy County, had her name drawn for the “When I Grow Up” grand prize. Her good fortune placed another $4,500 in her SMART529 savings account, on top of the $500 she had already earned by being a regional winner.
Jaylynn Gano, a second-grader from East Hardy Middle School in Hardy County, had her name drawn for the “When I Grow Up” grand prize. Her good fortune placed another $4,500 in her SMART529 savings account, on top of the $500 she had already earned by being a regional winner.

The West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office and SMART529 celebrated 12 years of the SMART529 “When I Grow Up” essay contest for elementary school students with an award ceremony this morning at the West Virginia State Culture Center. State Treasurer John Perdue recognized fifteen West Virginia students for their essays detailing what they want to be when they grow up.

The regional winners were selected from more than 3,300 entries. Each winner received $500 invested into a SMART529 WV Direct account. An additional $4,500 was awarded to Jaylynn Gano of East Hardy Early Middle School in Hardy County, after being selected as the grand prize winner 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 you all to be successful,” Treasurer 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 $12,000 in SMART529 savings for higher education. Essays from three age groups (grades K-1, 2-3, and 4-5) were judged in each of the five regions, for a total of 15 winners.

Keira Winkler of Jumping Branch Elementary in Summers County, receives a bit of assistance from Treasurer Perdue as she reads her essay.  Looking on is The Manahan Group’s George Manahan.
Keira Winkler of Jumping Branch Elementary in Summers County, receives a bit of assistance from Treasurer Perdue as she reads her essay. Looking on is The Manahan Group’s George Manahan.

“We are thrilled to partner with Treasurer Perdue to promote college savings in West Virginia,” said Hartford Funds Senior Vice President Jeff Coghan. “We are now seeing some of the first recipients of this award use their winnings to help further their education.”

2019 Teacher Contest Winner

In addition to the student winners, Lumberport Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Kimberly Howell 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.

“We rely on teachers to emphasize the importance of saving for higher education. I am thrilled to we are able to reward one of them for making a special effort to encourage students to think beyond high school,” said Perdue.

The “When I Grow Up” student and teacher essay contests are sponsored by the SMART529, Hartford Funds 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, on Facebook, in SMART529’s school newsletter, and through 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 Funds. Complete information about the SMART529 program contest, including the 2020 “When I Grow Up” essay contest, is available at www.SMART529.com.

The Treasurer explains how important saving for college is.
The Treasurer explains how important saving for college is.

2019 “When I Grow Up” Contest Student Winners

Winner’s Name

Grade

School

County

Occupation

Keira Winkler

1st grade

Jumping Branch Elementary

Summers

Doctor

Rowan Meadows

3rd grade

Maxwell Hill Elementary

Raleigh

Archeologist

Elijah Murphy

5th grade

Chapmanville Middle

Logan

Airline Pilot

Brooke Sayre

1st grade

Malden Elementary

Kanawha

Animal Keeper

Timmothy Henry

3rd grade

Beale Elementary

Mason

Paleontologist

Jack-Tyler Creed Rife

4th grade

Kanawha City Elementary

Kanawha

Blacksmith

Braylee Ammons

Kindergarten

Ridgedale Elementary

Monongalia

Artist

Vincent Cook

2nd grade

Fairmont Catholic

Marion

Business Owner

Corbie Campbell

4th grade

Lumberport Elementary

Harrison

Zoo Keeper

Stella Ann Marie van Hilst

Kindergarten

Shepherdstown Elementary

Jefferson

Paleontologist

Jaylynn Gano

2nd grade

East Hardy Early Middle

Hardy

Biologist

Savannah Wilkins

5th grade

East Hardy Early Middle

Hardy

Media Journalist

Cash McMahan

1st grade

A.T. Allison Elementary

Hancock

Blue Angel Pilot

Asa Brewer

2nd grade

A.T. Allison Elementary

Hancock

Disney Interpreter

Karlee Moix

5th grade

Middle Creek Elementary

Ohio

Nurse

 






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