UPDATE: W.Va. State Treasury Office announces winners of student essay contest
The winners of the When I Grow Up essay contest, hosted by the West Virginia State Treasurer's Office, were announced virtually Friday.
Typically, Treasurer Perdue visits the “When I Grow Up” regional winners at their schools in the spring to award the cash prizes to the schools. The winners are then officially recognized and have an opportunity to read their essays at an awards ceremony at the West Virginia Culture Center in September. The grand prize winner is randomly selected at that ceremony. Spring school visits were canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. There is no decision yet on whether the fall ceremony will take place in person this year.
“Our announcement of this year’s essay contest winners may look different, and our celebration of 529 Day may be completely online, but our goals have not changed. We want to make people aware of the benefits of long-term savings with a SMART529 educational savings account,” Perdue said in a press release.
To see the full list of winners, view the video all the way at the bottom of this page.
ORIGINAL STORY: 5/28/2020
The West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office will announce the 15 students and one teacher who have been chosen as winners of the When I Grow Up essay contest Friday, May 29 via Facebook Live at 10 A.M.
The award for students is a $500 prize invested in a Smart529 college savings account. In addition, the regional winners are eligible to also win an additional $4,500 which will be awarded to one student during a random drawing in the fall. Each winner’s school also wins a $500 cash prize. And the teacher’s prize is $2,500.
The student essays are submitted by West Virginia children in kindergarten through fifth grade, and they provide an opportunity for students to discuss what kinds of careers they might be interested in as adults.
“Students are asked to write an essay about what they want to be when they grow up, and how they would use some type of higher education to get that job or to go into that profession. Many of the students write about going to college, some of them talk about going to a trade school,” said Gina Joynes, deputy treasurer of communications. “[Students want to] become everything from teachers to veterinarians, doctors, lawyers. We have people who want to be news reporters and meterologists,” she added.
In addition, Joynes said one of the primary purposes of the essay contest is to teach students that their future goals are achievable if they -- and their parents -- start planning now for higher education.
The teachers’ entries answer the question of how they plan to use the essay contest in their classrooms. The contest began in early January and entries were received through late February. This year was record-breaking in terms of the number of entrants, with 4,662 students statewide submitting essays.
Although Joynes was not one of the judges of this year’s essays, she said that the Treasury Office is consistently impressed each year by the quality of submissions.
“The students take it up a notch each year...The essays are fantastic. I remember one year a student wrote about wanting to work in a teddy bear factory. Just the creativity, the innovation, and the excitement that they bring to these essays...it’s always such a joy,” Joynes said.
Find the link to the Facebook page of the Treasury Office under Related Links on the right side of this screen.