Annual essay contest returns for elementary students, teachers with chance to wins thousands

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WDTV) -- A statewide essay contest aimed at helping elementary students and teachers be prepared for the future has launched for 2019.

The annual SMART529 When I Grow Up essay contest encourages students to submit a 100 words or less essay about what they want to be when they grow up. Officials say the entries will be judged on "originality, creativity and the importance of post-secondary education."

15 winners will be chosen based on region and age group (K-1, 2-3, 4-5). Each winner will be given $500 into a SMART529 college savings account. One winner will be randomly selected to win $5,000 in a scholarship.

The student winners' schools will also receive $500 each.

A teacher essay contest is also open to elementary school teachers, who have a chance to win $2,500.

“This contest helps highlight the importance of post-secondary education,” said West Virginia Treasurer Sonny Perdue. “It has grown into a tradition for many families and it is an essential tool to help stress the importance of saving early for education beyond high school.”

For more information on the contest and entry forms, you can visit